The first thing that I do when I wake-up every morning is pull my ipad onto the bed and check the comments on my blog. This has become a lot less vomit-inducing in the past 3-4 days, and I have to say that those of you who have hung around are keeping it classy, San Diego (who knows the movie, as I'm not ACTUALLY in San Diego?). If we aren't friends in real life, then I wish I could know you all personally--because THIS kind of relationship, this level of honesty, where we can talk about being mothers, and not feel the need to agree with everything or risk feeling ostracized--it only happens pseudo-anonymously on the Internet. I have some really GREAT friends, and our relationships are SO valuable to me, because we can agree-to-disagree without any kind of insecurity, or negativity--but mostly, I have a lot of relationships that exist on a level where we agree that monograms are the shit and elementary math homework is really hard--and we keep it light because there is a fear that anything more will rock the boat. Even I fear that, and on any given day, I vomit emotionally all over the Internet.
This morning, I woke to a comment from one of my favorite Internet friends, Ramona. I sort of hate the Blogger platform, because it doesn't allow me to respond to comments that I get--but if it did, I would have told her many times that her words and encouragement are worth entire wine cellars of chardonnay. I was half asleep when I read her words this morning, but she absolutely nailed my BIGGEST parenting fear.
It isn't failing to teaching my kids to sleep, or to follow me in obedience. It isn't denying my daughter sleepovers, or teaching a boy with ADHD to read. It isn't instilling healthy eating habits, or choosing the right sports to involve my kids in, or deciding whether to get the flu vaccine. My biggest fear is not taking their missteps and failures PERSONALLY. I can do what I believe to be right by my children, I can give them every skill I think they'll need to be successful, I can work to break the parts of them that will hold them back or cause them pain--but it is SO incredibly hard not to make this job about ME. The truth of it is that we can parent "right", and they will still choose badly and fail, sometimes.
I can't tell you how much I have appreciated the chance to explain myself. I am amazed that there are any of you out there who even care about what I have to say--and that is an incredible privilege. My initial reaction, with all of the criticism was to feel attacked and to be defensive; however, the WORST thing I could ever do for my kids is to parent them out of spite for what was said, without taking the time to THINK about it. So I guess what I'm saying is...THANKS for that. And there's still more to it, because I haven't gotten to the part where I tell you why gagging doesn't phase me--I have A LOT of experience in it, actually, but I kind of feel like we need a few stories about how Mike wore a navel-bearing sweater to work today, and why he thinks that's my fault. Two things here: When you put a sweater in the regular laundry, eventually it will get washed (and dried); and when you get dressed in said sweater, and your lower back is completely exposed, you probably should TAKE IT OFF. Just sayin.
Also, if you are counting the number of holes in the sweater as a fun game with your co-workers, you should probably toss it. Or let me cut it up for some kind of garland.