This life with four children is incredibly...complicated. I haven't ever proclaimed to be an expert on ANYTHING (besides hoarding), and if you have read this blog for any amount of time, then you know that the running theme is how I SUCK AT THIS. Really. This is MY story and I invite you all into it, happily; but in the spirit of truth, I make it my business to give you ALL sides of me. Or as much as I can show you in a daily blog post. I do not hide for the sake of looking like I have this all together, or tell you that I make all the right decisions, or that I never snap at my kids, or that I don't worry that EVERY DECISION I MAKE will affect them for the rest of their lives--and I am PROUD of that. Women are NOT vulnerable enough. Period.
For everyone of you that HATES the video I posted yesterday, there is another who has lived through it. Maybe it's not getting your kid to eat squash--how about letting a baby cry it out to go to sleep? Did you breast feed and debate about whether to feed your baby, who is screaming, or wait because it hadn't been three hours yet, and that's what the *schedule* says you're supposed to do? Did you feel like a terrible mom because you didn't KNOW what to do? Ever force a kid to potty train by refusing to give them a pull up? What about tearfully and painfully getting your kid with a learning disability to do their homework? What about discipline? Have you ever hurt your kid's feelings? Have you hurt your kid's feelings more than once? Have you ever felt like you'e doing it WRONG? Has someone ever told you that you're doing it wrong?
Is it about control? Absolutely. Am I learning, painfully, where the line of independence is with my kids? You betcha. Have you ever made decisions to control the speed and ease with which your household runs? Ever have your kids abuse some of the freedom you give them? Ever have other moms give you dirty looks, or make snide remarks because they don't think you're giving your kids enough supervision? Ever care about what other women think of you, to the point that you concentrate on behavior, over heart and character?
Ever have a kid with a flair for the *dramatic*? What about a constant complainer? A whiner? Do you have a rule follower? Do you have one that's a wee bit devious? Do you have a kid that challenges everything you say? What about a kid that hits or bites? Do your kids feel like you play favorites? Are you consistent, or do you bend the rules? Are you strict? Is it easy for you?
Are there a million factors that go into every decision you make, and why you do it? Because I generally feel that this is an impossible, heart-breaking job.
You can fill in my blanks however you want, because that is the nature of our relationship, friends. You get this open window into my life, and my passions and my obsessions...and my failures. And I get to read your anonymous comments, and internalize them, and cringe that I offended you. I wish that it was always so black and white for me, but I find that most of my parenting is done in the middle, and I suck there. I understand teaching my kids not to steal, or talk back to me, or tell outright lies--but it's SO much harder to determine when to push, and when to sit still, and how to break bad and stubborn habits over time. Backing off, holding back, changing the rules--I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I believe those things have consequences for who my kids will become also.
If there is one thing I ABSOLUTELY do not apologize for, it's laughing at the parts of this that are so ridiculous; humor is one of the things that has gotten our family through a lot of shit, and it is how we ROLL. Period. We laugh, at ourselves. We laugh at our kids. We laugh at how freaking hard it is. I will fight with all my power to teach them to laugh at themselves--because we (women especially) don't do that enough. We make our issues into gigantic character flaws that censor us; we don't let them go. We would have been ruined a long time ago, if we didn't laugh at how it is we survive our last 10 years. We laughed through the NICU, we laughed through the years that L threw up every hour of the day. We videotaped that to. I am fighting every part that wants to defend myself, to give you MY philosophy on food--but I just don't have it in me, honestly.
So, read me. Or don't. Or tell me I'm abusive and ruining my kids. Tell me what battles to pick. Tell me how to KNOW what battles to pick. Tell me how to do it better. Tell me how to get it right. Tell me what it's like to never struggle with parenting. Tell me to f-off. I guarantee you do it better, and I'm not being sarcastic.
I'm taking a break.