There is an exercise in Pilates called “imprinting”. You visualize your spine lengthening and sinking down into soft sand, lightly imprinting. This reminds me of writing your name in wet sand or cement and how it is so easy to make an impression. Well, children are like wet cement in the way it takes the smallest nudge to make an impression. Children are smarter than we give them credit for. They can sense our feelings before we express them out loud. They also pick up on what we’re saying when we think they’re not listening. Here’s to making a good impression and gentle imprinting on our children!
As a working mom with two young children, I am constantly trying to do more than I can achieve. Sometimes with all of my multitasking, work responsibilities, and household chores, not to mention my personal life, I feel like an octopus! My head starts to spin and my arms feel all tangled up! I get discouraged and feel like I’m not doing any of my jobs as well as I could and should be. My top priority is always my family. They are the most important thing in my life. Taking care of my children’s needs and making sure they are happy, healthy, and safe is my most important job.
Parents always try so hard to do the right thing. The constant cleaning, cooking, and working to make our lives better can be exhausting. When I start to second guess myself I know I can find help with a multitude of books and websites but I find the best advice is always a phone call away! Our mothers, grandmothers, and friends hold a wealth of information at their fingertips. They are our fellow octopi!
When I was pregnant with my first child, my friend Jen threw me a baby shower. She set out a book for people to write down advice on being a mother. The best advice came from Jen herself who was not yet a mother! She said, “Call your Mom!” She was right! Our Moms have been there and done that! They hold our hands when we feel like we’ve just ruined our child and caused lifelong damage. They set us straight and get us swimming again!
I have often thought how cool it would be to be an octopus and what I could do with eight arms! An octopus is an intelligent, versatile and curious animal. I put such pressure on myself to try to be perfect! With these high expectations I put on myself, I’m doomed to fail. But, I think most working moms have to be overachievers! We must imagine we have eight arms!
If I was an octopus my name would be Pollyanna because like the 1913 novel and 1960 movie, I think I’m an excessively optimistic person! Nothing is impossible! Fran Lebowitz said,” The conversational overachiever is someone whose grasp exceeds his reach. This is possible but not attractive.” My eight octopus arms may not be attractive, but they can exceed their reach and hold a baby, grade papers, cook dinner, change diapers, teach Pilates, do the laundry, read a bedtime story, and dial for advice when I need help! I can do it and I can always find something to be glad about!
One of my heroes is my ballet teacher! She has four children, just got her masters in dance, and still finds time to read. This is the kind of role model I want to be for my children. Someone who continues to do what she loves because ultimately being happy makes us better mothers, wives, and workers!
Our children mimic what we say and do. We must make sure we are good role models so they “imprint” smart choices! My daughter is becoming a little octopus herself! She likes to sweep, cook, and dance all at the same time. She is a joy to watch and I am proud of my imprinting and impressions.
Everyone has their own parenting style, mine is being an imprinting Pollyanna octopus!
Ashley Cooley is a wife and mother of two, second grade teacher, Julia Child devotee, Bama football fan, and certified Pilates instructor featured in the Sept/Oct issue of Pilates Style. Ashley can be reached at Ashleyecooley@gmail.Com.