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Some women embark upon motherhood with June Cleaver as their role model: faster than a speeding toddler, more powerful than a strong willed child, and able to leap across the room in a single bound at the first sign of their child’s discomfort.
Coincidentally, these are the women who end up on mood stabilizing medications before the end of their little Beaver’s first year.
There’s a fine line between high aspirations and delusions, and the concept of the “perfect mommy” is just north of reality. Trying to be June Cleaver is like trying to be Martha Stewart, minus the bars and stripes: it's a nice dream, but the reality is that sometimes the kids slam the door too hard and the soufflé flops.
June’s style of dealing with bickering children is to sit with them and listen closely, not making any judgments, but instead exuding warmth and understanding, helping the children to see the error of their ways, and gently guiding them in finding a less hostile manner of handling the situation.
My style is a switch that I keep on the dashboard as a reminder. I don’t ever have to use it, but its presence works wonders as a preventative aid.
It doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes children are just plain disagreeable. One day last week, for instance, we had to run a few errands, and hadn’t even gotten to the end of the driveway before they began bickering.
If they been having intelligent debate, forming lucid arguments and countering with well thought out rebuttals, I would have encouraged it. Their bickering, however, revolved around who had touched who first, and soon devolved to a continual volley of Did-Too’s and Did-Not’s.
They’ve had this conversation before, and it always has the effect of raising my blood pressure. I could feel my face turning red from my toes up, rather like a thermometer on a Saturday morning cartoon, and I knew that at any moment, my head was going to pop.
I thought to myself, this is not what June Cleaver would do. June never lost her cool, but that’s just not normal. Or was it? Maybe I had it wrong. Maybe June was right and I was just a horrible mommy. Maybe I should be June. I could be June. I would be June.
I was June.
“Alright, children, let’s settle down now and stop this silly arguing. I know, let’s play Bible Search!” I sang cheerfully.
I sounded to myself like I had just swallowed a handful of Prozac. The kids weren’t buying it either. They squinted their eyes in my direction, trying to see who I was, and what I had done with their mother.
“Your bibles should still be back there from church yesterday. The first person to find the verse is the winner. The scripture is “Seek peace and pursue it.” I explained.
“What do we win?” the first one called out.
“Do we win cash or prizes?” the second one chimed in.
“I want both.” The third one interjected.
This was not going as I had planned. I had forgotten that my children were far more cynical than Wally and the Beaver. “You win bragging rights.” I replied, “Now find the verse. It's ‘Seek peace and pursue it.”
One couldn’t find her bible, so tried to take Three’s bible from her hand. Two got elbowed in the eye during the process and was beginning to cry. It was getting ugly in the back seat.
“Okay ladies, listen up: ‘Seek peace and pursue it.’ Who can find this for me? And quit fighting, do you hear me?” I said. Was that an edge creeping into my voice? It couldn’t be. I was June, and June didn’t have edges.
The tug-of-war escalated until Two pinched One, and the prized bible took flight. It arced gracefully through the air as though catapulted, and hit me directly in back of the head. The jolt was enough to bring me back to my senses.
“You will SEEK PEACE right this minute, or I will PURSUE you with a SWITCH, and it will NOT be pretty. HAVE I MADE MYSELF CLEAR????”
Silence fell immediately, the only sound was the turning of paper as the children shared and read their bibles.
“Mommy?” the third one said quietly, “I’m sorry for hitting your head.”
“I know you are, and thank you. I forgive you.” I said, rubbing my head.
“Thanks Mommy” she said, smiling, “You’re the best.”
Eat your heart out, June.
Copyright 2004 Dori Knight
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Thanks all - I appreciate your help! Blessings ~ Dori
[k now] was a little broken up there, and I do believe Bible is supposed to be capitalized...at least I always do, I think. Very good piece. I can relate to it, even as a father. :-) God Bless. Sincerely, Dan Blankenship
The only grammatical error I can find is in this sentence: >> I don’t ever use it, but it’s presence works wonders as a preventative aid. It's is a contraction of "it is" and that doesn't work in this sentence: >>but it is presence works wonders See what I mean? Hope this is what you're looking for! :)