Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Complications of Parenting

No one wants to turn into their parents.  It's a common theme of childhood, especially when you are a kid who gets in trouble for something trivial and declare that you hate everything and everyone and will never treat your children that way. 

Not like I was ever the kind of kid who said that. 

Ahem. 

While some people say its inevitable that we will actually become our parents, I've found that it is just as likely that we swing to the other side of the pendulum and try to give our children as much of an opposite experience to ours as possible. 

And one is not better than the other. 

This past Monday, my 5-year-old son had a soccer practice and game.  My daughter stayed home with my husband, so I was able to relax a little without having to split my concentration between a kid on the field and a kid playing on the playground.  Without any distractions, I was much more aware of what was going on in my surroundings, namely, what other parents were doing. 

I try hard not to judge other parents.  You never know what someone else's family situation is, and being a parents is hard enough without having to hear from someone else what you are doing wrong. 

However, on this particular day, I witnessed a soccer player slam a gate on a team mate, and a mom who just watched it happen.  The other boy was upset and his mom calmed him down, but this first  mom said and did nothing.  Then she allowed her other son to push her younger son for slamming the gate.  No words. No actions.  More like this happened while I watched intrigued.  Finally, about halfway through practice, she had enough and decided she would take the boys home.  The younger boy cried, and the older boy immediately began talking back. 

Mom: We're leaving. 
Boy: No, we're not. 
Mom: Yes, we are. 
Boy: Let him stay! 
Mom: C'mon, we're leaving.
Boy: NO!  HE'S STAYING!
Mom: You need to be nicer to me. 
Boy: YOU'RE NOT MY BOSS.  DADDY'S THE BOSS OF YOU!
Mom: If you keep talking like this, you're going to be in trouble. 
Boy: NO, YOU'RE GOING TO BE IN TROUBLE!
Mom: I'm serious.  If you keep talking like this, you're going to be in trouble. 

And as they walked off, the boy kept yelling rudely at his mom. 

This is the norm of parenting.  I used to wonder why things like this happen.  Why parents spend a lot of time threatening and not a lot of time disciplining.  And I'm not excluding myself from this, either.   I  tend to lean towards grace and compassion instead of instant discipline.  Brandon leans towards tough love, and together, we mostly make it work.  But not everyone has a partner who can balance them out. 

Those of us who are parents right now were some the last generation that got told "no." Now, middle and high schoolers will come home from school complaining that their teacher told them, "No", and parents call up wondering why the teacher was so cruel to their baby. 

We were told no, and we decided not to be like our parents.  And thus, we let our kids get away with murder.  In our efforts to be better than our parents, in many ways, we have become worse. 

As the middle child, I've got issues.  And it's taken me years to discover that I need to give my parents some grace, too.  Just because I disagreed with some of the ways I was parented doesn't mean my parents ever meant anything bad for me.  Everything they ever did for me was out of love, even if I didn't like, agree, or understand.  And as parents now, everything we do for our kids is out of love too.  And guess what?  We've all kind of screwed up. 

Our kids are going to say the same things about us someday.  They'll say things like, "My mom used to let me do whatever I wanted, and I was a hellion."  Well, hellion is an under-used word and it probably won't be making a comeback anytime soon.  But you get the point. 

I've said  to myself for years now, that I will do what I think is best for my kids and eventually they'll grow up and say that while I did my best, they wished I had done things differently.  Something I do to parent my kids won't be right.  More than one something, to be sure.  I've said that to myself, but never had someone else say it to me until last week. 

My 7-year-old daughter has been in play therapy for about a year now.  She loves her play therapist.  She tells me she wants to go see her every week, and for the rest of her life.  Last week, we discussed Brooklyn's progress.  I commented on some transitions that are being made in our house, and some serious situations that my daughter is aware of.  I mentioned her maturity to be able to take all of it in, and her therapist hit me with something like a ton of bricks. 

She invites honesty and information because of her curiosity, but she's probably carrying a lot of things she shouldn't have to bear.  

So... my goal to be an open, honest parent who communicates freely with my kids is probably adding to my daughter's anxiety.  The one thing I didn't want to do. 

So now here I am, in full realization that I will fail my kids.  I will get judged by other parents for being too lenient.  My husband will get judged for being too harsh.  I will become my parents, which isn't that bad.  I will be different from my parents, which isn't bad either.  Parenting is much more complicated than I expected it to be. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Weird Thing Wednesday: Hair

Hair.

I don't like it.

Let me rephrase: I don't like it being places where it doesn't belong.

Places where hair belongs:

  1.  On your body.  
    1. But only a little bit.  
      1. Really, like a very small amount is acceptable. 
        1. VERY small.  

Places where hair doesn't belong:

  1. The toilet seat
  2. The floor
  3. The sink
  4. The counter tops
  5. The sheets
  6. Clean clothes
  7. Shoes 
  8. Blankets
  9. Food
  10. Cup holders
  11. Drinks 
  12. My cat's water bowl
  13. Anywhere that is not your body
To be frank, I don't even like much body hair.  I never dated anyone hairy.  Too many hairs look like pubic hairs, and I immediately gag at the sight of anything questionable where it is not meant to be. I grab a paper towel or a tissue and gently brush it away to the nearest trash receptacle as quickly as possible.  Get thee behind me, Satan.  Or, I rush to sweep it up while trying not to lose my lunch.  See, I tend to think about the worst case scenario, so my mind always reverts to Clarence Thomas and the pubic hair on the Coke can.  WHY? I was like FIVE when that happened.  It's like my fear of clowns: installed during childhood and impossible to remove as an adult.  

One of my biggest pet peeves is my cat rubbing against my legs after I've gotten out of the shower.  And he does it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  I'm soaking wet, and in he strolls, meowing and begging for attention.  I flick all the remaining water I have on my hands onto him and it diverts him for a moment, but because cats are punks, he does what he wants, leaving behind a splotch of black cat hair stuck to my calf.  I have to remind myself that he does this out of love.  I am clean and unscented.  He is marking me because he loves me.  And because he's a punk.  

If I accidentally go a day without shaving my arm pits, I freak out.  Like, drive home and shave.  Or go to Target, buy a razor, shave in the bathroom. The feel of it makes me self-conscious. God forbid I forget on a day where I'm wearing a sleeveless top! Then the anxiety and immediacy of the situation goes up tenfold.   

I shave my legs in the winter.  For any guy reading this, I know this sounds like no big feat, but I assure you that you are wrong.  Most girls love winter because a)sweater weather, and b)pants all the time means no need to shave.  EXNAY on the upidstay.  I shall not be furry.  I can't be walking around like Chewbacca.  That stuff has got to go.  

And don't get me started on facial hair!  I have ONE hair follicle under my chin that loves to grow.  Just the one.  So, I go about my business and then happen to glance at myself in the mirror one day to see: POW! You've got a long, dark thread hanging from your chin. Fantastic.  I do not feel pretty.  

I keep a pair of tweezers in my makeup bag.  And one in my purse.  And one in my bathroom drawer.  And one in my car.  Because you never know when you are going to look down and realize, "Huh, I missed this one random spot while shaving", and have to painfully remove the hairs one by one.  Call it vanity, call it obsession, I call it cleanliness.  Which is next to Godliness.  Which is said no where in the Bible, so I'm not sure who first lied that one up.  

Whatever you call it, call it "Weird Thing Wednesday."  

I Googled "Gross Hair" and this is one of the photos that came up.
 I can't unsee this.  Now, neither can you.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Being a Coach's Wife

Being a coach's wife means having months of feeling like a single mom.

Being a coach's wife means going long periods of time without a meaningful conversation with my best friend.

Being a coach's wife means sharing in great joy and deep disappointment based on the team's success.

Being a coach's wife means simultaneously loving and hating your husband's job.

Being a coach's wife means struggling with the antithetical desires for the season to end as soon as possible and for the team to take state.

Being a coach's wife means assisting in fundraising.

Being a coach's wife means attending all home games.

Being a coach's wife means attending the close away games.

Being a coach's wife means letting your kids sleep with you because you are lonely.

Being a coach's wife means sleeping alone until he gets back from far away games at 1 AM.

Being a coach's wife means keeping to yourself at games because you don't know how friendly to be with the parents.

Being a coach's wife means practicing holding your tongue when the ump makes a bad call.

Being a coach's wife means being willing to fight someone who says something rude and negative about him.  Just kidding.  It means practicing holding your tongue in that situation, too.

Being a coach's wife means allowing the entire varsity team into your home for a massive Fortnite squads battle.  Twice.

Being a coach's wife means wearing a lot of Mustang gear.

Being a coach's wife sometimes means keeping the pitch count, because too many kids failed and there's no one on the bench to do it.

Being a coach's wife is awkward, lonely, and often unrewarding.

None of these things are hard and fast rules.  None are things I have to do. They all just come with the territory. You love your husband, so you prepare to help him, support him, and stand up for him.

My coach didn't ask me or expect me to do any of these things. But he's glad that I do.  And now that our season has come to an end for the year, I find myself finally giving in to how much I've missed him.  I cuddle a little closer, I hold him a little tighter, I stay up with him a little longer.  We've got lost time to make up for, after all.

Photo of Coach and his family last season.  Peyton's dirty 'stache is for sure the highlight of the picture.