Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Becoming (our) parents

There's an anthem I hear a lot. It's a fight song that's a few bars after adolescent angst, and it goes like this ... "I will NOT raise my kids the way my parents raised me. Nope. I won't."

For some it's an ideology based in reaction to actual harm done to them in childhood. For others it's a philosophical desire to deviate from norms thought to be antiquated or restrictive. Whatever it is, though, most of us say it.

I've said it, too.

Before I had kids, that is.

But now I realize the truth in that statement: I WILL never be like my parents.

That's not to denounce the way I was raised or magnify their mistakes, it's just that I am a wholy separate person living with a new set of expectations.

Here's how I think it breaks out:

At my age my parents already had kids in their 'tweens.
They had clergy their parents and their physcians to go to for advice.
They winged it.
They acted like they knew the answers (even if they didn't)
For all intents and purposes they were The Adults.

At the age they had me I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I don't know what's best for everyone.
I have my parents, physicians, Google, Internet support groups, about a zillion self-help manuals to go to for advice.
I still have to wing it and pretend I know what I'm doing.
For all intents and purposes my parents are still The Adults.

3 comments:

wordgirl said...

My parents did the best they could with the tools they had which, in retrospect, weren't much. And sometimes? Their best wasn't all that good. I won't be anything like them, and yet I know I'm still going to screw up. The difference is that I will acknowledge their "finger pointing"...rather than pretending their reasons for it don't exist.

marta said...

This is a great post. I'm glad I found it. If my father ever questioned his role, his job, his life, ever wondered what it all meant and if he were a good parent--it is the best kept secret in the world.

the mad momma said...

this is one of your best... and that is saying alot considering how good your other posts are.