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Be your kid for a day, aka Freaky Wednesday

Categories: Bad Parenting, Mommy Angst


Yesterday I got some advice: act like my 9 year-old daughter for a day. All day, channeling Serena.

Um. I’m not sure I can do it. She’s very different from me. When she’s hurt, you know it (so does the whole neighborhood). Me, I keep mine inside, or I try to. After all, how many of us are comfortable showing our inner pain in front of our kids?

And when Serena’s happy, you know that, too. Her whole body bounces, her eyes shoot sparkling diamonds, and the very air reverberates with her happiness. Me, happy? Hahaha. (I blog it).

But the thing I love most about Serena? Is that she speaks her mind. Doesn’t hold back. She’s completely honest and up front. And I so love that!

Most kids have that quality, at least until they unlearn it from the social cues we give them. Who among us hasn’t been at least slightly embarrassed when our outspoken inquisitive preschooler stage-whispers questions like  “Mommy, why does that man only have one arm?” at the grocery store only a few feet away from the One-Armed Man himself?

It’s refreshing, yet we’re not 100% good with it. It’s pretty clear the guy has only one arm. He knows it, anyone who can see him knows it, Captain Obvious knows it. It’s out there, the elephant in the room, so why not just … say it?

Oh yeah, I remember. It’s “not polite” to stare, or notice, or to point out the obvious.

All that — that outspokenness, that utter non-attachment to certain social parameters that bind us — is what I want to bring. For a day. Say everything on my mind. Be REALLY BIG about it, and let the whole neighborhood know (well, maybe not that last part … I do have to live here … ). Be Serena for a day.

Oh sure, plenty of people speak their minds. We’re not all bound by over-exuberant social convention. I know people who think nothing of walking on people’s lawns — gasp! — instead of on the sidewalk, for instance. But thanks to MY mom, I have a strict and very specific model of what it is like to be an adult, a grownup, a mother.

I’m looking to my kid to help me reach outside that box.

Which leads me to my question for you: name a quality that your kids possess that you want to be for a day. One thing. Anything. What would it be?

(Bonus points: if they made a movie of your kid-for-a-day experience (it’s been done before. Twice), what would they call it?)

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6 comments so far...

  • I would love to take the time to tell everyone I love how much I love them every day, and what makes them so special. My 4 year old daughter tells me she loves me and her daddy at least 10 times a day. She gives us hugs and kisses anytime she gets the whim to do so (not good when her hands and face of full of chocolate). She compliments everyone she cares about “Uncle Russell, you’re so funny” “Auntie, you’re so nice”, “Mommy, you sing pretty” (when really I sound like a cat in serious pain), ” Daddy, you’re so handsome” (ah, and he is!!)
    If I said that kind of stuff growing up, the first thing out of their mouths was “Okay, what do you want?” Which led me to feel like compliments and signs of affection were only good for getting things. And I never took compliments very well, but she’s teaching me. And she reminds me that people need to hear those things, to be reminded how wonderful they are and how much they are loved.

    Erica  |  April 22nd, 2009 at 12:47 pm

  • The Movie, “My Life as an Irish Triplet”

    The quality would be the ability to just plain fall apart at any given moment when something upsets me to the point of 50 minute crying and screaming jags. I think that might feel really good right now.

    You rock as usual Karen. Thanks. I am going to go have a tantrum after the kids go to bed.

    Julie  |  April 22nd, 2009 at 9:14 pm

  • Off the top of my hat and tongue, I can definitely say *Carefree*. Just go through my day without a care or a worry in the world. If I could be that way for one day there’d be a lot less stress aka anxiety. My question to myself however is can I actually achieve a day of being carefree? I’m not sure if I can. She can go through the day so happy and not have a single thing on her to do list. My daughter can have a good laugh. She can cuddle up to me or her father and just have any emotion without worrying who it may bother (she can cry, get mad, be hyper, or happy and people will say it’s okay because she’s a kid). My daughter can dance and sing without anybody telling no or she doesn’t know what she’s doing so she might as well stop. And she speaks her mind and stands up for herself. That’s carefree, that’s my daughter.

    Lindsey  |  April 23rd, 2009 at 5:20 pm

  • I don’t know how to name this with one word as a quality, but I’d love, love for one day to be as excited and thrilled by tiny little regular life stuff like my kiddo is. We went to the dentist. They gave her a sticker that happened to have her favorite princess on it. She was on top of the world. I came home earlier and we got to play outside. She lit up. Stuff like that — I guess the smelling the roses part. I don’t do it enough:)

    Nataly  |  April 23rd, 2009 at 7:15 pm

  • Wow. I’m humbled by the love you see in your children! Each one of these heartfelt responses made me smile.

    Karen Murphy  |  April 23rd, 2009 at 8:33 pm

  • I’ve done this before. Last Mothers Day my daughter (then 8) declared that she would be the mommy and I could be the daughter for the day. She made me cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. She tidied up (and lectured me for not taking my dishes to the kitchen myself) and read to me and we had a lovely day.

    What I took from it not only was how I saw my daughter (in all honesty though we’re very much alike) but how she saw me as she took on the ‘mommy’ role.

    Jamie  |  April 27th, 2009 at 3:07 pm