I was just about to write a post on a way different theme until I read this. Which, in turn, changed my entire thought process.
I hated babysitting. I avoided it whenever possible…unless I was running low on funds. A girl had to make money somehow. And I always chose the legitimate route. So, babysitting on very rare occasions it was.
You see, I didn’t really like kids. Particularly other peoples children. Their runny noses, dirty butts, whining, refusing to go to bed and all other things that go along with kids…a complete turn off. And when they wanted me to play with them? Oh, the thought still makes me shudder.
But I always wanted my own kids.
It was Number 2 on my List of Life Plans. Right under…”Getting Married”.
What I never really thought about was the type of mother I’d be or what my kids would be like. I just figured I’d be like my mom and my kids would be like my sister and me. Easy peasy. Really, a complete no brainer, right?
My parents made parenting look easy. And my sister and I made having children look like it was MOSTLY fun. I mean sure, we had our issues. We used to beat the crap out of each other, smack faces while wearing braces, titty-twisters during “that time of month”…you know, typical sibling stuff.
My parents even made parenting rebellious kids look basically effortless. And by rebellious, I mean me. They’d threaten, I’d listen. They’d punish, I’d sit in my room and not be allowed to go out or use the phone.
I just figured. I assumed. And I was wrong.
I’m not my parents. Parenting doesn’t come easy to me. The only thing easy is loving my children, no matter what. I’m lacking in coping skills and advice, the things my parents were fluent in.
I live in panic-mode much of the time because I don’t know what to do or how to help my kids other than reassure and take them to therapy.
How did I become this parent that I never thought I’d be?
How come my kids aren’t the way my sister and I were?
Those are rhetorical questions, by the way. Because, surely, no one has an answer.
It always seemed like my parents loved being with us. I don’t remember whining, complaining or acting out when we went on excursions with them. They shlepped us along with them, from the backroads to the high roads, we went almost everywhere and used some of the most disgusting public restrooms in the process.
I love being with my kids. Until they start with the whining, demanding, complaining and acting out. I don’t know how to respond to it other than asking them to stop (politely) until it elevates to yelling at them and then, we are all miserable.
My parents always seemed to have a solution to all our problems. I always felt safe, I knew that I was taken care of.
I don’t think my kids feel that way about me. Sure, I know that they know how loved they are. How could they not, I’m constantly telling them.
I just don’t understand how MY kids can be insecure or depressed. I don’t understand why I can’t help them to not be.
I can’t help but feel that I’ve let my children down by not being a parent the way my parents were. I have this awful guilt that sometimes keeps me up at night.
My kids know I’m here and I’m present.
But I really don’t think that they think that’s enough.
And as much as I try, I don’t think what I do is really enough either.