I’m trying to figure out how to write about the perils and joys of parenting a ‘tween girl without completely mortifying her.
When my kids were little, blogging connected me with other moms I related to and made me feel less crazy, and it was therapeutic for processing stressful issues in my marriage.
I miss that feeling of connectedness that comes with writing openly about my emotions — connectedness to myself, mainly. Which is weird. Writers are weird.
For me, blogging makes me step back and observe my situation from a third person perspective. Knowing that I’m about to write something that involves my child, husband, friend, or anyone else I’m in relationship with, I need to consider how a public record of that story will affect the other people in it.
I’ve always believed in only telling my story, from my perspective. It’s not right for me to tell Ruthie’s story, or Bryan’s, unless we agree to it. So every time I’m tempted to write something scathing, I am convicted in my heart to rethink the story I’m believing about the situation, and explore how I can take more responsibility for my own emotions.
I think this has helped me tell truthful stories while respecting others around me.
So here I am, setting the reset button on blogging about all the piles I’m standing in as the mother of a ‘tween girl and nine year old boy.
(My, how they grow fast.)
So here’s where I’ll start…
I’m learning that parenting requires fluidity. I’m more like an ancient stone statue that’s cracked and pooped on, weathered and beaten, but relentlessly unchanging.
Last week Ruthie declared that she hated her headphones and threw them on my desk. It was less cut and dried than that, but just imagine dumping a bucket of water into a box full of cats and you’ll have an idea of how she responded to the unsatisfactory headphones.
A few days later she saw them sitting on my desk where she’d dropped them and said, “Hey, these are cute! Are they mine?” and took them back, proving that if I just don’t engage the drama, it eventually blows over.
This fluidity between likes and dislikes is a pain in the ass for parents like me who want to coast on the stability of a templated life.
“What do you mean, you hate broccoli?? For the last six months broccoli is THE ONLY VEGETABLE YOU’VE EVER EATEN. Now I have to think of something else healthy to feed you??”
I really enjoy being lazy and not having to solve problems all the time. Problem solving is exhausting. I have great systems set up in my home that, if followed, would parent for me. Most of life can be managed with a check list and a reward jar filled with candy.
But my kids are not robots on auto-pilot.
Recently I was at a meeting to help plan a coat drive and free lunch for the homeless later this month. The lead organizer’s name is Oliver, and he was describing a lunch scenario in which our “guests” are seated at a table by a “host” and served a plate of food by a “server.”
I was perplexed.
“Why don’t we just set up the food buffet style and have them go through a line?”
Lines move faster and we’ll get through the crowd more efficiently.
Oliver put his pen down and looked at me.
“I know a line moves faster,” he said. “But these guys stand in a lot of lines. I want to provide a place where they can sit and be served.”
I smiled and nodded, feeling a weight lifted off me that wasn’t just about feeding hundreds of people efficiently.
Oliver’s desire to love people more than process opened my eyes to just about everything that I let frustrate me about my little offspring and their ability to derail my best laid plans.
Life is fluid. People are important. Stone is overrated.