As we get closer to becoming the “oldest generation” in our families of origin, many of us develop a deeper appreciation for our parent’s experiences in parenting us – especially during those “wonderful” teenage years, when parents find out just how fortunate hey are to have children, who seem to know everything …except of course, to do what they are told.
In a perfect world, my sons have good male role models, my daughters emulate the strong successful woman they have known me to be, my credit score is perfect, my dissertation is finished, my mother’s sight has been restored, no foul language crosses my lips,and nothing ever takes me by surprise, because I am always prepared.
Welcome to my world, which is of course, the exact opposite, my mother’s sight will never return, my credit score is most likely negative something, and I have been prone to being blind-sided by situations for which I was completely unprepared.
These days, I seem to wear the label “how NOT to rear your children” on my clothes and feel more like a “horrible warning” than a “good example.”
I am almost certain that should my children ever go into therapy, the following issues will be addressed; how I did too many things, how I did not do enough things, how I failed to do any of those things correctly, or how I could have done things better. Another parenting theory will be born from the knowledge my children provide and how they managed to survive with a mother who, in doing nothing, does it all wrong, will be the topic of many tear filled lengthy discussions.
For those of you who have yet to become parents, individuals with just one child, and parents of children under 8, I invite you to share with me a pareting method that will do what no other has. My solution will ease the stress of parenting AND dramatically improve the parent/child relationship BUT WAIT – I am offering this to everyone completely free of charge. Read carefully, because here it is.
One must have a child first, experience parenting, and only then, be allowed to be a child!
Although it is not humanly possible, it is (in my humble opinion) the only way to fully appreciate, comprehend, and survive the parenting experience. Until such time as the aforementioned solution is possible, the following holds true; no matter what you do, no, matter how hard you try, somewhere, some jack ass (one who has neither been a child, nor had actual parenting experience), will, without the slightest hesitation tell you that you are doing it all wrong, and (adding insult to injury) will completely disregard your efforts.
Was it easier when they were infants and toddlers? NO.
As parents we looked forward to the day when they would (fill in the blank – sit up – crawl – walk – talk- count- spell- read-etc) begin to exercise their independence. Eager anticipation got us through nights of colic, endless questions about nothing, and a fascination with all things that were insects. We dreamed about the good times to come during our 15 – 20 minutes of sleep each night. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize then, just how good things really were.
Enter – teenagers!
That cute little button nosed baby – the one that we just loved so much- now, not only knows “more” than we do, but also has “dibs” on anything and everything in the room that was once yours. Your “tiny little tater tot” is also capable of almost consuming an entire weeks worth of groceries while standing in the driveway waiting ( patiently, I might add) for you to take them inside AND put whatever might be left ( a raisin – piece of celery – fish oil tablets) away.
Those little “cherubs” remembered your complaints about having no time to work out! They watch you squat, bend, and stoop as you pick up a combination of clothes, shoes, back packs, pens, pencils from the floor; and with the loud music blaring in the background, it’s almost like attending a jazzercise class in the comfort of your own home. (Gosh guys….you shouldn’t have…really!)
Still however, as you contemplate having to explain your son’s decision to showcase his artistic abilities upon public property or facing admonishment from academic administrators over Sweet Pea’s inability to get to school on time, you stop briefly and remind yourself that at one time, you too,were like them. The context different, but the process still very much the same. Searching, seeking, wanting, knowing, challenging, thirsty for more, but willing to take less simply for the sake of declaring your independence;but from whom? The part of yourself that, in any way shape or form remotely resembled anything your parents believed you to be.
Was it really that long ago?
Seeking to understand, you compare your experience to theirs – doesn’t work.
Attempts to discuss the current situation with grandparents (and such) start with “ “You should have…..Remember when… If they were my kids..” and stop short of you wondering how exactly it is you survived being parented by someone who’s so ….wait a minute….the look your child has given you ( you know the one…pursed lips, furrowed brow, hand on the imagination, eyes rolling, completely exasperated with how much they know and how little you dont) the one you swore you never gave, now appears on your face, as your parent now looks at you in the same manner that you look at your child when shown that face. Frustration is replaced by one slightly raised eyebrow. Soothing silence bringswith it the ever present all knowing slight nod of the head and gentle glances are exchanged. No words are needed.
Your “aha” moment has finally arrived!
Not only did you survive your parents parenting, they did too!©