Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Good parenting sucks most of the time, not a lot of parents will admit to that."

When people ask me “What have you been up to?" I find that question funny, especially if they already know I'm a mother. I have three kids with a busy life schedule and I am constantly planning and preparing like an architect with OCD, attempting to be five steps ahead of the game. It would seem that the last fourteen years of my life have been planning, preparing and doing, doing, preparing and planning, all in one breath. Lately, I've been feeling like I'm part of a roller derby team. Three of them and one of me. And they're having fun. Boy, are they having fun! Football, baseball and 'Girls On The Run' season is over for the year, so now, Alex is doing wrestling, David is doing basketball, Tay is doing newspaper. Nowadays my kiddos are constantly signing themselves up for their own activities...they bring home the forms and their father and I write the checks. Are we good parents in letting them do this––make their own decisions on what activities they want to take part in? Or are we supposed to drag them kicking and screaming to the activities we want them to do for our own fulfillment? Nah...that would suck, for all of us. I tried that once with Alex, earlier this year. I attempted to force him into doing something by signing him up for drama and art classes (after school activities). I even called the school, and then dragged him and his father into the school cafeteria to meet the teachers who were facilitating the clubs. His father had been on him since the beginning of the school year to get involved in an after school activity other than being an "online gamer" learning how and attempting to be the next PewDiePie, YouTube millionaire sensation (at 12.5 years old mind you). I felt the strain in their relationship and the distance between them getting bigger. The tension between father and son was mounting, I had to do something. Embarrassing, I know, for a 7th grader to have your mommy walk you into a room full of your peers. At least he had his father there to laugh with as they shook their heads in disbelief and thought "'MOM' is really serious about this, and she's about to embarrass both father and son to make this happen." And Alex tried to attend them for almost a month. He texted me one day in early October, stating he was joining the wrestling team and dropping the drama and art clubs because wrestling has practices daily and he won't have time to take part in anything else. I said, ok. Nothing more, just "ok". I can't say no to my kid when he finally takes the initiative to do something on his own that's positive for him and will benefit him in the long run. Isn't that what parents are supposed to do, teach their kids to make up their mind, be themselves, and think independently and assertively about what they're doing with their lives? I found myself thinking "Being a YouTube millionaire can wait, just be a kid for now, Alex."
Good parenting sucks most of the time, not a lot of parents will admit to that. Any of your own selfishness as "the adult in charge" has to be drowned and put to pasture. Your every bit of patience has to be tried constantly and you have to, you need to, muster up more patience than you've ever had without losing your cool. And you have to learn fast as a parent, and be on point 99.9% of the time. We're supposed to smile and always say “Being a parent is so rewarding" or else we're judged by someone who doesn't give two nickels about us or our children (funny ain't it?). Most of all, even when you're at your last straw, your last energy, your last have to love another human being unconditionally and unquestionably. But here's the reward, your kids' lives won't suck when they're on their own one day. Hopefully.
Sometimes, when being a parent to your children, you just have to wing it, and hope that what you're teaching them and the example you're setting up for them does justice to their lives when it's their turn to make big decisions independently. Baby steps, ten leaps forward, then baby steps again and again, and again, till the next big leap forward. It's a process. ― LRAEBROWN

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