Tag Archives: Mistakes

Are You Raising a Douchebag?

25 Jul

I saw a picture on facebook today (pause for gasp).

No seriously, it happened. Anyway, it was a kid, clearly a shithead kid. It asked, “Are you raising a douchebag?” and pointed out that “Your indulgent parenting is spawning a generation of hipster brats.”

I think this picture is right. Yeah, someone somewhere on the internet got it right.

I have a problem with being indulgent with my offspring. I want them to have everything their little baby hearts desire, then SHOCK they act like jerks when they don’t get their way. So now I’m working on this whole giving them everything illness I have. It’s tough, and sometimes I say no to something ’cause I think I should be saying no more often than I realize I could have said yes in that case and nothing would have exploded. It’s a work in progress.

Now to the point of my rambling. As a parent I know it is my job to help in the shaping of the people my spawn turn out to be. Hopefully guiding them down a path of goodness and away from shitheadedness. What about all those jerk adults out there though? Hey person non-specific standing in front of the mall/restaurant/kids play area surrounding yourself in a cloud of death that I now have the option of dragging my kids through or using another entrance and hoping another one of your kind isn’t there? Go to hell! Yeah, that’s right. You choose to be a smoker, that’s a bad choice, go make your bad choice away from those of us without wishes of stained teeth, foul odours and untimely deaths.

Those people make me mad…can you tell?

There are so many adults making horrible choices, sometimes they are me. Sometimes they are the people in my life. Those bad choice may be as simple (and regular) as not thinking before speaking, or as all consuming as addiction. It’s always happening around me. And as I am trying to mold my kidlets into good people I wonder about how to best handle all the bad stuff so that it will have either no negative impact or maybe even sometimes a good impact (by the way of lessons to be learned). I recognize and sometimes SOMETIMES accept that I cannot change the people around me or stop them from making poor decisions. What I am not too confident about is how to manage those people in relation to my babes. We know that when kids are being bullied in school doing nothing is comparable to endorsing the bully’s behaviour. So, should I try to say or do something about bad behaviours so the kiddos see that I do not support it and am trying to have a positive impact on their world? OR knowing that those choices are not mine to make and only the people making them have the ability to make better ones do I simply not include those bad choice makers in the circle of people my family hangs out with? Standing idly by as my children witness people inflicting harm on themselves or others does not fall into the category of acceptable for me. Not only could that tell them that I am OK with whatever is happening but also that I am willing to expose them to bad shit…better words are not currently available.

I could see how some may say I’m thinking too much about this. And I SO see how my need to control is impacting my train of thought here…but what is a mama bear to do trying to raise her cubs in a world full of assholes?

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My Big Plan – Part 2

7 Nov

I want to be more specific on the being a better parent part of my plan.

I believe I have excellent intentions when it comes to being a parent. I believe I have an open mind when it comes to seeking out new and improved ways of being there for my kids. I believe I am accepting of the parenting choices that others make. I know I love my kids in a way I can’t actually put into words.

However all the good intentions and love int the world do not a perfect mother make. I get mad, frustrated, irritated and sad and I can sometimes take it out on my kids. I yell, I shut down and sometimes I even withhold my attention out of spite. Ugh. I’m so disgusted with myself right now.

I have been reading about positive parenting. The idea of using positive reinforcement versus negative consequences has always been a good idea in my head but the truth is I haven’t been putting it to practice all that well. Bad Sarah!

The goal moving forward is to really use this positive thing, like really. Not just think about it, but you know…do it. I read these two posts:

http://www.authenticparenting.info/2011/10/practicing-punishment-free-parenting.html

http://www.authenticparenting.info/2011/10/four-alternatives-to-punishment.html

And realized it is who I feel I am as a Mom and so I need to really work at doing it. For the last week or so when Logan has been upset about something and behaved in a less than desirable fashion I have gotten down to his level and asked him how he was feeling and why he did what he did. He often has an answer for me. We talk about a better way to handle it next time and we hug. After we are both smiling and feeling better. I don’t want to punish them when they do things I don’t want them to. I want them to be able to recognize their emotions and deal with them in a positive way. So my hope is that if each time they get a bad feeling running through them I am there for them they will learn that it is OK to have those feelings and we can learn together the best way to deal with them. They are people. I often find it hard to wrap my head around this thought. I know it’s obvious. but when I really think about all of the emotions and thoughts that are going through them all the time I think WHOA. And then I think as if I expect them to just know how to cope with all of this. Well adjusted adults have a hard time dealing with all of that stuff. At the end of the day I think if I can treat them the way I want to be treated. With love, understanding and support than I think I will be doing a good job.

I am not going to use yelling, threatening, withholding, time outs or removal of privileges. This feels right for me. It’s not easy because I have been doing these things so far but I believe the change will be SO worth it. It’s really not easy because popular beliefs in regards to parenting include these things. It’s hard to be different with an audience who doesn’t see it your way.

When Logan and Bella were babies I knew right away that I wanted to be a parent who followed most of the ideals of attachment parenting. I co-slept(sleep), I nurse, I kept them close, rarely put them down. Let them lead the way when it came to when they ate, slept, learned new skills, moved onto solid foods. I now need to work at doing the toddler and preschooler equivalent. I need to let them lead the way. Follow their cues and be in tune with how they are feeling and what they are needing.

When Logan was new and I was at a doctors appointment feeling overwhelmed and in tears my doctor said, “All he needs is love and those dumb things” (pointing to my boobs) and that helped me to trust in myself to do the right thing. As they grow and change it’s still pretty much the best advice I have heard. All they need is love. What comes from the love I have for them is my drive to do the best for them that I can.

A Good Mother

12 Jun

People tell me I am and I find myself thinking they are not around to witness the majority of my mothering. Their comments usually follow one thing that I say or do and somehow that one thing tells them that I am a good mother. I want to be, and for the most part I try to be. I have to be honest though, my patience only goes so far. I am not always a cool and collected zen Momma. There are days where the first little thing that goes wrong sends frustration through me by 8 AM. I yell. When he won’t stop bugging his sister, or she won’t stop that whine cry she does when nothing is really wrong but she wants me to pay attention to her. After a day where I have been especially impatient and irritable I look at them while they sleep and feel horrible for raising my voice, for harshly snapping “Go away” at Logan when I was at my wits end for no good reason at all, there is no reason to bark at a three year old that way. I promise myself and the two of them that I will try harder, I will do better when they wake up in the morning and when they grow up they will look back and recall a loving and affectionate mother who was always there to support them no matter what. I want them to be able to come to me with anything, to never fear saying something to me in case it makes me mad. I wouldn’t consider myself a hot tempered person and yet I worry that others may, I suppose that means I do see myself that way.

Why can’t I do better, why do I still snap when the nagging child just won’t quit? I don’t know. But I swear I am working on it. I need to hold myself more accountable, I need to do more than silently promise to be better at the end of a bad day. My plan has a few parts. The first is to do my best to avoid those situations that push my buttons all together. My frustration is usually triggered by a behavior that comes from boredom.  If I keep them stimulated, feed them before they start asking for food and cuddle Bella when she gets sleepy so she goes down for a nap at the right time they won’t try to get my attention in a way that results in my negative response. Sounds easy but my lazy side kicks in, or I am really determined to finish vacuuming, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, make dinner, whatever it is that I need to do that is keeping me from keeping them happy. I don’t want to be the sole source of their entertainment 24/7 they need to be able to entertain themselves and they do, I think I take their ability to do that for granted though and expect their independent play periods to last longer than they do.

Next I need to remember to take a breath before I react. Too often I react before I think. Bella cries, I yell Logan! What did you do to her? Not the right response at all. And I find it so easy to say to Scott when he does the same thing, calm down your reaction is bigger than the situation. But I’m worse then him most days. I get annoyed with him because I unrealistically expect him to do better than me. I feel so bad that the kids have had me getting annoyed with them during the day that when Scott gets home I want him to be gentler and more patient. That’s not fair, he is gone all day dealing with his own aggravations and is no more a fresh page when he gets home than I am.

I need to find my own outlet, something that brings me back to a place of peace and calm to recharge and come back a better parent. I”m not sure what that is but I intend to figure it out.

Parenting is hard. Not the physical hard of being tired after chasing kids but emotionally and mentally. It get harder with time too. The more they grow the more difficult it is to know if you’re making the right choices. Logan absorbs everything, if he sees me swat at Scott in irritation the  it’s how he deals when he’s irritated. We raise our voices when we are arguing so he does too. Modeling good behavior all the time. It’s hard, it shouldn’t be. I should just be a good person who makes the right choices all the time, that would be ideal really. Why can’t is just be that easy? I guess if I didn’t have to work at it the rewards might not feel as great as they do.

Logan says thank you on his own the majority of the time, Bella snuggles into me, he says he loves me and she reaches for Daddy and squeals in delight when he gets home from work. There are so many tiny things that make my love for them grow everyday. That love is what has me reaching everyday to be a good mother.

What I Thought I Knew, And Still Don’t Really Know

17 May

The years we spend caring about what others think of us start pretty young right? I think they do. I recall those years. Being worried about how I looked, what I said, how smart I was, or was not. Stressful. Most of those years I spent walking around assuming I was the only one with the thoughts I had. Feeling different and weird, and like I was always being singled out, in a negative way. Self conscious? Um yes. Shy? Also yes. I felt like no one in the world could possibly feel or think the way I did and so no one could understand me. And if they could not understand me they could not care about me, not completely. Pretty sad little thought process but it was there. Looking back now I see I was very self absorbed. I really believed that anyone who looked at me would form some kind of judgement in their mind.

I eventually realized that people weren’t really that concerned about everyone around them. They weren’t walking around looking for people to criticize. I remember very clearly driving down the road, probably with my Mom, and looking out the window. We drove past a house around dinner time and there were lights on inside. I don’t know what was different about that moment but just then it hit me. There was a family (or some people, or one person) in there having dinner and likely conversation about stuff. They had their own lives, their own concerns and I had nothing to do with it. On some level up until that point I had been assuming everyone else on the planet was essentially an extra on the set of my life. There most often to make me feel bad about myself and every now and then to befriend me. I wouldn’t say I consciously felt this way but looking back it sounds about right. I have to give myself some slack here and point out that most tween and teens have this perception of the world, at least I believe they do.

Somewhere in the course of my social development I came to a new conclusion, and started basing my assumptions and interactions on this new thought. That everyone was just like me. That people more or less go through the same thought process that I do and would mostly come to the same conclusions as I did if faced with the same decisions. That there was a logic, a way of seeing things that was universal. This method of understanding the people around me quickly showed it’s flaws, not that I let go of it or anything. When someone expressed an opinion different from my own I was confused. I tried to put their words and actions into my predetermined formula and they didn’t fit. It was frustrating. Why didn’t they have the same thoughts that I did? Aren’t we all governed by the same basic rules of how things work? What is right and wrong, good and bad? I still struggle with this. I”m stubborn and hard headed and when someone disagrees with me and I don’t understand why I get annoyed.

I have this innate need to understand. To get to the bottom of whatever it is I am thinking about or dealing with. To say it irritates the people around me would be an understatement. Scott gets the worst of it, and to him, a man who has truly mastered the art of the one word answer, my repetitious why’s  drive him up the wall.  More recently I have learned that my need to understand may be more of a need to control than to truly comprehend. Using the word understand makes it sound passive and interested. Really though I think my constant question asking is seeking out an answer I can change or manipulate. When things don’t go the way I want or expect them to I search for a way to change them. I have a hard time accepting that I can’t get my way.

Presently I have been able to recognize my selfish and manipulative traits and try to change them. And my most recent conclusion about humanity is that I was wrong. I am not especially different with everyone around me serving as background noise. And I am not just like everyone around me. Everyone is especially different. Not only physically and in opinion, but in thought process and decision making. We all have a different sense of the world and the people in it. I perceive the world in my own unique way, as does everyone else. It sounds obvious I know. Yet somehow I spent the majority of my thinking life believing otherwise. Perhaps it was my youth, naivety or narcissism.  I don’t know. What I know is that my children, like all others, will likely go through similar phases where their perception of their surroundings will not be accurate.  And that will be difficult for me, as their Mother. To try to guide them through their lives in a way that will lead them to a more complete picture of their world. If I just tell them they probably won’t really believe me. But I can’t leave them in the dark either. Breadcrumbs here and there containing what I have learned in my time is likely the best I will be able to do. They won’t hear most of it, I didn’t. What they do hear they may think is foolish coming from someone who could not possibly have ever experienced youth, that’s how I saw grown-ups when I was younger. If I wanted to let myself go there I could get really worked up about how scary what lays before me really is. How many ways I could ruin my kids. Send them down the wrong path or lead with the wrong example. It’s to big to wrap my head around completely I think. I’m not going to try, or even let myself start to panic the way I normally do when I see a situation ahead of me I will not be able to control. I am consciously choosing not to map out every option and detail. To deal with what comes as I see it and use the very best judgement I can at the time. I will make mistakes and sometimes maybe wish I could change things, but I promise to myself that I will always remember that I did the best I could.

That’s what we are all doing isn’t it? The best we can with what we have? I think so. And I think that’s a pretty great way to be. Always try your best. You can never look back with regret if you know you tried your best at every turn.

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