It’s been a wild month around here. I’ve wanted to write, but needed to get a place where I could write. I’m certainly not referring to a physical place, but to a settled mental space.
I’m still not sure I’m there; honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be there again. However, maybe writing this will provide some level of catharsis.
Lately, my brain has felt a bit like a misfired firework. That picture below is the perfect description. Normally my brain feels like a ‘perfect’ firework. Always firing, always energetic, always moving…often outward.
I’m at a time in my life where it just feels…well…screwy. Right now…my brain is the green firework.
This parenting gig? It’s hard. I don’t mean in the sleepless nights and getting pooped on hard. I mean that’s no fun…but whew, this shit is for real. I’m not getting into specific details but I recently had to be a ‘real’ parent. Some folks have called me ‘brave.’ That description seems off to me. I’m not brave. I did what needed to be done. It was not fun. I didn’t take pleasure from it. I wasn’t sitting in the corner with a smug look, maniacal laugh, watching my parenting at work. I was curled into a ball in my bed, sobbing – knowing that I may have caused irreparable harm to my child’s psyche.
Have you ever done that? Don’t feed me be a BS line about how ‘it was the right thing.’ I know that already, it doesn’t fix the suck factor. As I said that night, “Sometimes a parent just has to make unpopular decisions, because it is what needs to be done.” Picking up the pieces is one thing, picking up the pieces that you helped shatter is another.
Why? Because it’s not just that moment. It’s every moment after that.
I know I’m not the first or last to experience this moment of parenting – but when your parents said to you, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.’ deal? Woah. When you have to experience that moment as a parent it sucks big. HUGE. Like monumental, really.
It’s true. I’m a hot mess. I am the Captain of the Struggle Bus…yes, not just a passenger – the Captain. I’m crying at the drop of a hat. I’m feeling like I could puke at any given moment.
Yet, I’m trying to hold it all together…during finals week, nonetheless.
I’m wondering what it’s like for other parents. The truth is, it’s different for each and every one of us, right ? Each and every one of us has a different struggle in trying to do our best to raise human beings that aren’t assholes.
Sorry for the cussing, but it’s just where I am. A very real place – and that is where this writing is going. If the word offends you, you should probably stop reading. Maybe that should be our ultimate goal? Don’t raise an a-hole.
Sounds good to me. It seems like it would ‘solve’ so many of the larger issues in today’s society. But, we don’t celebrate that, do we? Here is what we do celebrate
- Academic honor rolls
- Big scholarships
- Getting the lead
- Free tuition
- Starting on teams
- High scores on standardized tests
- Breaking records
- What else would you like to add to this list?
Maybe I’m going to start giving out awards, too. My award? The “Not an A-Hole” certificate.
Yesterday I walked to class reading an article about Aleppo. My heart sank. I’m not going to get political about this. I just want a basic conversation. A conversation about the rise of a-holes in our world. No, it’s not happening in our country (as in Aleppo is not in the United States); but some people there are being real a-holes to other people. I guess I feel like that IS my problem. Maybe the certificate should be named, “Protector Against A-Holes.”
Here is what is really on my mind. We don’t really care as a population, do we?
I mean…anymore it doesn’t feel like we really care that much if people are a-holes.
My mom recently said to me, “I’m glad I’m not raising kids now. What is all of this? Gender reveal parties? Graduation parties that cost thousands with bands and lovely catered foods? All of this driving kids around to tournament nonsense? Do parents really think they have the next NBA player on their hands? Get real. Prom dresses that cost as much as your wedding dress? It’s ridiculous. It’s out of control. All of this stress parents refer to? It’s on them. You signed your kids up. You said yes. ”
She’s right you know. Know what she focused on when raised children? Not raising ‘A-Holes.’ Thanks, mom. If I was an a-hole I would have enjoyed that awful parenting moment that you know about – but I didn’t. I was in the fetal position and pretty darn close to thumb-sucking. My brother also isn’t an a-hole. So, good work mom…good work (and dad, of course).
This is the stuff I do have figured out. My children are people I would like to be friends with as an adult. They aren’t rude or ego-bearing. They like to discuss real-world topics (a riveting discussion about Putin was had at breakfast this morning). They are kind and compassionate. They are empathetic (not pathetic – Tucker misheard me once. I guaranteed him I did NOT think he was pathetic). They are funny and clever. They have opinions and yet, listen to others.
What’s the problem with that? Sounds like someone you would want to be friends with, yes? Me too.
My daughter received a purple ribbon on a band solo this week. A friend of hers came running over to see how she did. The friend was SUPER excited to get a blue ribbon. I noticed as the friend was talking she slowly moved her evaluation sheet and purple ribbon behind her back. She listened to her friend and gave her a high-five. When her friend asked how she did, she said, “I did the best I could and I’m happy with that.” Then, they hugged and went their separate ways.
I told her how proud I was of her hard work AND her modesty. She knew that ‘bragging’ about her purple ribbon may hurt her friend. No worries though, she bragged plenty on the way home – to me and I was VERY happy to oblige in her bragadociousness (I love making up words)
The point? She is not an asshole. That makes me happy.
The point? Even though I crushed his world, Tucker woke up the next morning and asked me to help him fix ‘this thing.’ He never once attacked me as a parent. He never called me b*tch or told me how unfair the decision was. He never did this. Not one bit. Know why? Because he’s not an asshole either. That makes me happy.
The stuff I don’t have figured out yet? It’s the stuff that society seems to celebrate and reward, the stuff on that list above.
My brain feels like that firework because there is a mismatch in what I believe is most important and what society really rewards. I think to myself…”Maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong. I was focused on not raising assholes. I should be focused on achievements on paper, trophies on shelves, plaques on walls. ”
I know better and so do you.
So, this mama is taking a deep breath and continuing down this path.
My children may not be award winners, high achievers, team starters, record breakers…or let me be honest…they may not be ‘the best’ at anything, ever.
They are not assholes.
And THAT is enough.