Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where I prove that we can be serious about squash eating, but still manage to dress ourselves in shrunken wool.

"At some point, your children will decide when to use their free will.  Hopefully you will not take it personally, because it is just part of the growing up/life process."  


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.  

Hands down, THAT is my biggest insecurity. What I will do, what motherhood will look like when we come to the end of the lesson on obedience, and they do life as they see fit?  I'm not talking about when they turn 18 and they head off to the freedom of college--but every small slip along the way.  My reaction, says a lot.  It's the difference between yelling at Big J to eat his squash, and encouraging him to get through it.  Contrary to what you might think teaching obedience looks like, I believe that if it's done *right*, it gives kids more and more freedom as they mature--because the consequences become more natural (versus being parent-enforced), and they UNDERSTAND how they are ultimately responsible for them.   Obedience, for us, has always been about setting expectations for our kids, based on who we KNOW they are, and teaching them to be responsible, and independent and successful in that context.  But not losing my shit when they make ridiculous choices, when they know better--that is the kicker for me.  

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.


Emily said...

We make mistakes as parents, and our children are going to grow up and not agree with everything we did. I certainly do things differently than my parents did. Thankfully, when I worry and question whether or not what I am doing is the right thing I think of this...

"This parenting gig’s an experiment in radical grace and the work of every parent is to fully give to the child. And it’s the work of every child to fully forgive the parents. This is how it turns, the torch passing from one to the next." Ann Voskamp

Ramona Dillinger Jordan said...

Wow! this morning, so unexpected, so hoping I have not driven you crazy or offended you with all my comments.

I tell my children if they will just let me pick their spouses, their lives would be perfect. Nobody listens. But they will tell me, I do listen to you, but then I do what I want.

I am hoping that me and my kids are just meeting in the middle.

And when your heart gets stomped on, you just keep trying. Because your kids know you love them and Jesus loves them also, because you told them.

I Love your blog, it is great! RJ

Anonymous said...

See Ramona, you kids may not always listen but your blogging friend really appreciates your words. Thanks for sending this link to me. I am happy it made your day. Happy Friday!
Your friend at work,

Lacy said...

Loving this weeks posts - keep it up!!! And Anchorman is one of my faves ; )

Clara said...

There are a few reasons that I feel I need to comment today, but mostly it is because I have been fascinated by your blog this week. I've been following you for some time, mostly for the craftiness and the (laugh out loud) funny.

I am 32, not married, no kids, an atheist. And those are all my choices. People often think that I must be pining for a ring and a wedding and the kids and everything that I am 'supposed' to want at this point in my life. Most people cannot BELIEVE that I am happy in my life as it is. And I end up feeling judged and wondering if somehow I am doing life wrong. Which is just silly. Because I am the only person who knows what works for me.

On the surface, we have absolutely nothing in common. I appreciate that you use this place to talk about what works for YOU, even when I completely disagree. This week served as a very good reminder about respecting others' choices and being confident in my own. Thank you for that.

Now. Where are the pictures of your husband in the crop top?