Randi is the newest blogger to join CTWM’s and her first piece delves right into some great parenting confessions!
1. I love picking at my children, and now at my grandchild.
– I used to pay my younger son to let me squeeze his juicy blackheads. I had an entire kit of tools for this purpose.
– My older son carried Q-tips in his pocket when we went out in public, knowing I was sure to spot some wax in his ears and obsess about it until I could get it out (must be his Cub Scout training – always be prepared!).
– The grandbaby has deliciously flaky cradle cap!
2. I fought constantly with my sons about too much television-watching and video-game playing. I was worried about their lack of interest in other things, but I wasted a lot of years being bitchy about an activity they loved. Especially ironic because my mother did the same thing to me about READING TOO MUCH.
3. I yelled a lot when they were growing up. Now that I have a stepson, I see that I definitely hold back with him, and I realize that all the yelling was unnecessary and wrong. I was raised in a family where we verbally treated our loved ones badly, and I am sorry I continued this tradition.
4. Same deal with quipping and sarcasm. Unnecessary and really unfair for the parent to do to the child, who takes the parent’s words so seriously. Example: My stepson was going into the bathroom and saw that I was headed that way. He said, “I’ll be really fast.” He wasn’t. So what? When he emerged, I simply said, “Thanks.” In the past, I would have said sarcastically, “I’d hate to see you when you were going slowly!” Har har. Completely unnecessary and mean.
5. I, like other confessing moms, found work to be a refuge. In hindsight, I don’t think that is so bad, although at the time, I felt guilty. Now, looking back, I think I was able to be a saner mother because I had the opportunity to work and use my brain.
6. I hated other people’s children. Still do. I like my own kids, of course, and my nephews and a VERY FEW kids of friends, but for the most part, I found other people’s children to be totally obnoxious, ill-mannered and shockingly nosy and demanding. I was part of a carpool for many years in which I had to restrain myself from shrieking at my wee passengers. Example:
-Me: “We’re home! Get out of the car, Evan!”
Just “NO.” And there he would sit, when I was racing the clock to pick up my other child at a different school. If I tried to unbuckle him, he would writhe and cover up the seat belt buckle. Where was his parent? In the house. Grrrr.
7. I resented when my children asked if they could have some of my beverage and then took a huge endless sip. I felt they were sucking the life out of me.
8. I felt that my children did not appreciate me and all that I did to make the house run, especially when I became a single parent when they were 15 and 10. I resented that there was no father to say, “Look at all your mother does!” I spent a lot of time on this in therapy, and learned that I had to talk about it instead of sulking. I also learned I had to let them know that I wanted loving birthday cards and mother’s day cards, not just the joking ones. Instead of getting all hurt and wounded about the joking ones, I explained to them that there are 2 days of the year I would like them to express their love to me. It was VERY difficult to do, and I believe I cried. To this day, they will say, “Oh yeah, here’s your LOVEY-DOVEY CARD, Mom!” But I hope that I helped them to be better partners to their respective women by teaching them this. I was really cross about the lack of the dad doing so (he was in their lives, just not too with it).
9. I said some bad things about their dad after we split up – many less than I wanted to, but still I made them feel uncomfortable, and sometimes I still do (when they tell me about some asinine thing he has done in the present day, it’s hard not to make sounds of derision and disgust).
10. My older son, age 31+, just told me LAST WEEK that he realized in therapy that there was one galvanizing moment when my nasty reaction caused him to be afraid to ask questions for the rest of his life. He was probably 4 or 5 when I blew up at him when he asked if he could watch more TV, after watching 5 or 6 hours straight. He remembers that I later apologized, but he figured out that the lesson he came away with was that it is dangerous to ask questions. I am actually thrilled he discovered this, because that is how therapy is supposed to work – you figure out what’s holding you back, and then the childhood trauma gets minimized and you can go on in your adult life without having the child within dictate your reactions. However, although I certainly know I wasn’t a perfect parent, of course it does really hurt me to know I hurt him.
11. I hated, really hated the Berenstain Bears. Too many words, stupid storylines, ugly characters.