Oh My WORD!!!! Having teen age girls is such a challenge on my nerves!! They are all over the map with those emotions of theirs!! And all those emotions truly are justified, all real and very important and need to be respected. Yea, right!! Who am I kidding? So much unnecessary drama!! I wonder where they get if from? Hmmmmmm...
As all of this emotional energy is swirling around, the dialogue that is constantly running in my head is the one I have with the 'me' before i had children. You know that conversation, the one that went like this... "when I have my own children I am NEVER going to do that! My children will never have to________, (feel free to fill it in with anything, like"do chores before they can play" what a drag that was!! Took me forever on Saturday mornings to get it done and then all my friends had made other plans. Sooo unfair!! Or, "when I have my own children, I will ALWAYS let them _____, because my parents never let me!! or, "I am never going to send my kids to their room 'without another word'!!". I will listen to them and validate all those very important feelings. I will give them the freedom to express themselves openly and with out harsh judgement.. OK, I had many, many, way too many of those conversations. I didn't have my first child until I was 35. I had lots of time to plan my strategy for healing the hurt from my own childhood through my relationship with my children.
This is a great example: As a child I, felt my mom was always very impatient with me when I got hurt. I would come to her with blood streaming down my leg and she would tell me to go to the bathroom and she would be with me in a minute. I had three other siblings and my mom worked; she was always very busy all of the time. So, to interrupt her busy-ness with my careless behavior, recklessness that lead to some bleeding. This was very inconvenient for her. I was often met with, "Whew, what have you done now?". My injuries were another thing a long list of things she had to take care of. And so what I packed away in my side pocket of my adulthood baggage was, "When I have kids I will always validate their injuries, be available to them if they are hurt". My oldest daughter comes along, begins growing and bumping into things. I would kiss her boo-boos', "Are you okay, sweetie, let mama make it all better". I am sure I gave her way too much attention than necessary. I was busy with my own agenda of trying to make up for some lack of attention from my own childhood. This did not help my daughter! No, she just got way too much attention surrounding any illness or hurt. It only took a few years before I started realizing my error. My little angel was becoming a hypochondriac!! It seemed like every time the wind hit her wrong, "Ow!! That hurt, mommy, come look at how the wind blew across my hand!! MOM, COME LOOK!!!". I recognized my error in parenting early and unfortunately tried to correct this in my second child. Over correct is more accurate, "get up, you are not hurt, the bleeding will stop, just press on it and hurry up!". Ummm, I think I sound like my mom. Maybe she had it right. Or doing the best she could? There is a thought: Be a little gentler when reviewing my upbringing.
Parenting is really tricky when you take it too seriously. Is that bad, can you take parenting too seriously? There seems to be a fine line there. I believe the tricky part is the person looking at you with the magnifying glass, judging your every move...usually someone without kids, still having that conversation with their 'other self', "when I have kids, I am NEVER going to do that to mine, how aweful!!!!!!" Judge, Judge, Judge!!!! Ewww, judging is so unattractive!! But if I look really close when I am feeling like someone is judging me, measuring something I am doing with their perfect stick, I am usually guilty of judging someone else...that is a big ewwww!! Could it be me and my harsh judgement toward my mom? Holding her up to my 'pre-parenthood perfect parenting expectation stick'? There is the lesson for me. If I am not in a judging state of mind, If I am I am open and compassionate to the poor woman trying to manage her wild children in the Wal-mart line then I the judgement waves on my parent radar are blocked. If i don't judge my mother's parenting with that perfect stick, maybe i wont feel like she is judging me all the time. Maye she is just truly, just like she says, trying to be helpful!! What a breakthrough!
My lesson is: Don't judge others and you wont feel like they are judging you. I believe this to be true, just like the Bible says! (Luke 6:37)
Most days I try to parent somewhere in the middle.
"Yes, sweet child o' mine, you have to do your chores but you pick the time. If not Saturday morning, then when? And no I am not going to pay you to pick up clothes you threw on the floor!! But I will pay you to clean the bathrooms!!"
"Please go to your room and let me think this out, just go! Write me letter if you are so furious with me, go NOW, I am too angry to discuss it and if you push me right now, you will get grounded!!
My parents had the right idea, they knew I needed boundaries. My children need boundaries. It is my job as their parent to give them boundaries and enforce them. Most of the time my kids get mad at the limits. But I have to weather that storm, I will take the heat. I am the grown up, and I am right. (at least I have to act grown up and believe I am right!) I don't have to explain it, it doesn't have to be fair, it is just the way it is!! Quit whining!!
Now lets move on...I need to go burn the "perfect parenting measuring stick" :)