Aiming to be a B+

I adore Joslyn’s blog. Whether I’m searching for inspiration or adding a few things to my must-have list, I can always count on her impeccable eye and stellar taste. And if THAT wasn’t enough, many of her posts focusing on parenting make me want to yell “ME TOOOOOOO” at the top of my lungs because it seems Joslyn and I are very similar in one regard. We are Type A Mothers.

As Joslyn stated in a recent blog post,

I think a lot about this idea of “mellow parenting“… I believe with ever fiber of my being that creativity flourishes and the magic happens when you let kids be bored, explore, make messes and just sort of ramble about a bit, and yet, at my core, I am a type A mom. Big time. Art projects inevitably begin with a mental assessment of how hard they’ll be to clean up, I still tend to overschedule (despite my continued attempts at laziness) and, more often than not, I’m far more uptight than I’d like to be.


You are preaching to the choir, Joslyn. I’m a tad bit Type A myself (hahaatadbithahaaa), with one of my major triggers being kitchen messes. Let me take you all on a little journey into my mind.

Friday evening, dinner table.

Sarah: Wito, how was preschool today?


Sarah: That sounds like fun! Wito, honey, be sure and wipe your hands on your napkin, okay? Also, sit up straight with your knees under the table. That way, you won’t be spilling so much food on the floor. Okay?

Wito: Okay, mommy.

Wita: Ahahaaaaa baaaaaabaaaaaa maaaamaaaa *fistfuls of bite-sized turkey and cheese flying through the air while the rest of her dinner is smashed into her hair*


End scene.

You guys, why am I so neurotic about this? I mean, REALLY, it’s just food on the floor. They are LITTLE CHILDREN. I know I’m going to sweep the floor regardless if there are 2 Cheerios on it or 49, so what’s the big deal? I just wish I could tone it down a bit, but MAH BRAAAIIIIN.

And then I start to wonder…is Wito not the slightest bit interested in creating art (painting, drawing, etc) because I shrink-wrapped him in trashbags whenever he got within 2 feet of a paintbrush for the first 4 years of his life for fear of the mess he might create?

Hmmm, food for thought.

Joslyn included this passage from an interview with Anna Quindlen on Momfilter:

“I think having bright lines and boundaries really worked for us, that it made our kids strong and secure because they were clear on expectations and responsibilities. But I wish I had been better able to combine that with letting things go a little bit. Nobody really needs a bath every night. Nobody really needs a balanced meal for every meal. I should have let the freak flag fly a bit more. It’s hard to be a Type A mom. I wish I could have been a bit more B plus, for my sake and their own.”

B plus. I think I’m in love with that idea. Most certainly, the LAST thing I want is for my Type A behavior to stifle my children in any way.

So, this is a call to all of my fellow Type A mothers. Join Joslyn and I in aiming to be Type B+ mothers this summer. Are you in?

Look, I’ve already started.

Those Cheerios have been on the floor for 5+ hours. Baby steps.

Feels quite liberating…

(Nope, just feels messy.)

  • narmalie

    May 31, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I read Joslyn’s post last week and IMMEDIATELY sent my husband to read it… this entire weekend, we used the code word “B+” as a way to let the other know that we were being overly concerned about things that were NO BIG DEAL. I hope we continue to keep it going, since it’s nice to have a partner in crime to help keep things in perspective. I so feel you on this.

  • Danielle (elleinadspir)

    May 31, 2011 at 6:29 am

    You are preaching to the choir here. I sooo feel you. This is something I have been trying to work on…and will keep trying to work on….

  • C @ Kid Things

    May 31, 2011 at 7:03 am

    This is me, exactly, including the same sort of guilt over my kids’ avoidance of art projects. Way too uptight. I know it is and I’ve tried to correct it. I go into a situation chanting to myself to let it go, let it go, let it go, and by 5 minutes in that mantra is up and gone.

  • Dana

    May 31, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Sarah – you just need a dog to help mealtime cleanup along….!!

  • The Dalai Mama

    May 31, 2011 at 7:32 am

    This so so me–my brain does the exact same thing. Maybe it takes my kids so long to eat dinner–because I am constantly managing their every move, “sit down, turn around…” etc.

    My husband is always telling me to relax and have less rules and do less managing. But it is hard and I. Don’t. Know. How. But I do know that being as uptight as I am drives me crazy.

    I am going to work on letting them just be kids and I’m going to try to be more relaxed and let my kids be kids…

  • […] could not have read two more perfect posts today.  My husband (dad, brothers, mom) are always telling me to mellow out and […]

  • Ashley

    May 31, 2011 at 7:55 am

    So, pretty much it feels like you crawled into my head to write that post. I say on a regular basis, mealtimes especially are my least favourite. One because I’ll cook a favourite meal (that everyone ate the previous cooking) and somebody will inevitably start to wail that “I don’t want THHHHAAAAAAT! Can I have something ridiculous and absolutely not going to happen, just because I’m whining?” To which the answer is “Oh, um, NO.” But mostly because nobody sits still, which means food goes flying, napkins or cloths are for looking at because you only wipe your fingers on the wipe shirt that Mommy just removed stains from the last meal from and unless sippy cups with lids are employed somebody spills milk onto my cloth seat chairs. By the time they finish (which is 4 hours later because the squirming reduces eating speed by 25%) I’m exhausted.

    I’d love to organize less and let them just be. The problem is, I don’t have a clue how. Great post! Maybe I’ll have to adapt the B+ theory… or it may just be like a New Year’s Resolution, made with the best intentions and dead before the ball finishes dropping.

  • Kristabella

    May 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Dude! DUDE! This is one of my huge fears about becoming a parent. How can I handle that? I’m not even a neat freak, but holy crap, when my nieces and nephews are around, I’m neurotic! I cannot handle the messes and the slim chance they might draw on the coffee table with a marker and GAH! Who cares?

    I like the idea of B+!

  • Torrie @ a place to share...

    May 31, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I am the exact same way, and to put it simply- I’m IN =).

    It really hit me when my son started preschool. I went to pick him up one day and his teacher pulled me aside and said that she wanted to talk to me about something. She had “noticed” that he was uncomfortable getting his hands dirty. My immediate thought: Uh-Oh… What have I done? I had visions of him eating his spaghetti and me- tackling him with wipes in fear that he would run to the couch and smear sauce all about. That type of behavior (parenting) couldn’t possibly have anything to do with his neurosis… right?

    It’s definitely been a battle… of my A brain and my B+ goal.

    But these posts serve as great reminders- and like I said, I’m in!

  • Rebecca

    May 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Oh yes, Me too! Me Too! I’m days away from adding a 3rd baby to the mix. Three children under 5 years old!! B+ may be what saves me.

  • Kristy

    May 31, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I was/am a type A mom. I am s l o w l y working on “chillaxing” a bit when to comes to messes. I use to vacuum, dust, and what-have-you every other day. I’m not sure when/how I flipped the switch but I now do that once MAYBE twice a week.

    I still have the rule that all messes must be cleaned up before we leave the house. Meal times are still atrocious! I am constantly telling them to sit down, put your feet forward, use your fork, don’t wipe your hands on your shirt, EAT this mediocre meal I have created from boxes & cans….sheesh!

    My husband actually said to me yesterday, “You know, it’s ok to sit down and relax for an hour in between activites…” Huh? What is this “relax” you speak of??? I honestly don’t know how to just be anymore…still part of the type A I am working on…

    Although I was proud of myself yesterday. The girls painted birdhouses and my 5 year old actually dropped her WET birdhouse and on our cloth dinning room chair. While, I did say, “Oh, baby” in that whiny way, I cleaned it up, put down a towel and let her have at it….baby steps!

  • Barb @ getupandplay

    May 31, 2011 at 10:42 am

    The grass is always greener, right? Because I am not tidy and strive to be a more structured mom! I think we all want the middle ground, and we’re just coming at it from different angles.

  • Jessica

    May 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I’m sure this would create more mess for you, but I totally solve the mess under the table with the dog. I do not have to clean up after because it’s cleaned for me! Like magic!

    I do not struggle with this but I probably should because my parent’s were crazy neat freaks. We were able to be creative when we wanted though, so perhaps that helped break the streak?

  • Tina

    May 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    OHhhhhh, I love this post. I needed this post. Hooray for cheerios on the floor!

  • whoorl

    May 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    B+ moms unite!

  • Mama Bub

    May 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I’m neurotic in a safety sort of way. Slow down! Don’t touch! Be careful! I could use a little B+ in my life.

  • Amti'b

    May 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I can here you saying that to wito.

  • Sonja von Franck

    May 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    These past two months have made me feel like the coolest Mom! EATING OUTSIDE rocks!! He knocks his drink over, I practically cheer, “IT’S OK!! Not a problem – we’re OUTSIDE!” Her big forkfull takes a nose dive – “Food for the birds!” But today it was 100 degrees. I’m considering bringing the plastic swimming pool and putting their chairs in that…that’s cool right!??! ;-) As for art, I love Color Wonder and stickers.

  • Jessica

    May 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I really strive to create my daughter’s environment with a sense of structure and security. And while I am an overachiever at my job, I am very type B at home. There are times when I read your blog and I think “I could stand to be more type A”. And I think, “My house would drive whoorl crazy, what with the dogs, and the clutter…” but the truth is my husband and I just are who we are and we want to be good at parenting, but we are always learning what that looks like. As far as you making your kids crazy by telling them to wipe their hands, etc., I just don’t think it’s possible. I think each human being is just born with a temperament, and it is lottery as to how that is determined.

    I think no matter what kind of parent you are, Type A or Type B, you can have a better experience by stuffing a sock in your internal critical voice that tells you to clean up or relax, and just be present in the moment with our kids.

  • Sharon

    June 1, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I hate myself a little bit each time I ask why so much food is falling on the floor. The kids are 9 and 6 and you would think I would have given up on this by now. But jees, how does all of that food get on the floor? Is any of it reaching their stomachs?? Maybe B+ is the right idea.

  • Therese

    June 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

    OMG, this is me! I love it. Just the other day I sat and thought “how can I chill out more, they are just little (2 and 2 months). Enjoy this time, don’t stress over the the little things, leave the toys in the floor, it’s not a big deal!” I then promptly had to pick all the toys off the floor put them in their correct spots. I’m so going to go for a B+ now. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    June 1, 2011 at 7:35 am

    The 2nd child? Has FORCED me to be a B+ Mom, whether I like it or not. (I DON’T.)

    The dinner conversation about school made me laugh because OMG YES. I don’t think I’ve ever completely heard her answer. Which is… kind of sad, I guess. heh

  • jive turkey

    June 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Yes. This is me. I want to relax — I NEED to relax — but dammit! I want to be in controooooooool….

  • Sunshine Burns

    June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    yes to all the B+ jazz!
    now tell me where did you get the fabulous green chairs!!!

  • Cars 2 Mania : whoorl

    June 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

    […] Wait, don’t answer that. (Obviously, this was BEFORE I decided to work on being a laid back, B+ mom. […]

  • Jill V. / TerraSavvy

    June 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I’m in and just a side note….looking at the pictures of the Cheerios on the floor made my chest tighten up. Oh I have so far to go!

    I wrote about Fingerprints a while ago and it pretty much sums up where I am trying to get to also.

    A perfect B+

    Thanks for making me feel a little less nuts!


  • Iowamom

    June 7, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Ah, we are who we are! I’m a B+ mom and always have been. It’s a great place to live because my house is neat and clean but not perfect. The kids are happy, healthy, and quite creative! However, there’s a storage room in our basement could really use some TLC from a Type A gal! ;)

  • Green : whoorl

    June 10, 2011 at 6:36 am

    […] Room and Board Madrid Chair (with the infamous Cheerios) […]

  • wannabe1987

    June 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I feel that i’ll be this kind of mom…i’m already this kind of sister/babysitter and with the dog…OMG no…don’t sniff that grass we gotta keep walking WALK ON THIS SIDE not that side WHY ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO THE VOICES IN MY HEAD type deal

    what, i’m not crazy, am i?? :S