Monday, June 01, 2009

Make no mistake

no oops, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I've spent the last few months just being angry.

Angry and hurt that there are people I know who don't have much faith in our ability -- MY ability -- to parent.

I'm even angrier when these folks (who will remain nameless) feel the need to point out our parenting prowess when it happens, noting it to anyone who will listen, because they are surprised it exists at all.

I seeth with rage.

Somehow ... telling someone else that we are such good parents with such vim has become an indictment all its own.

Why do I care? My husband asks me this all the time. Why do I care?

It's a rhetorical question.

Rationally I know he's right.

What they THINK really has no basis in any fact. They don't know more than they see in any given snapshot, any given instance. Even in what they read here -- IF they ever read here.

Here is really just a snapshot, too. What I write is not as important perhaps to this equasion of good vs. bad or competant vs. incompetant as what I leave out.

We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. We all hover when we should let go. We all give in when we should stand our ground. We all zig when we should zag.

I know I make mistakes. I'm not June Cleaver.

I'm sure Mrs. Cleaver wouldn't give her kids sno-cones they would spill immediately. Or ice cream so late at night. Good parents would not keep the kids up past the time in which they are cute and amenable. They would not allow such insolence.

Good parents wouldn't let them pick out their own clothes, or go without baths or hair brushing. Good parents would ensure that children are seen and not heard. Good parents wouldn't be angry, or short tempered. They wouldn't say 'see, I told you not to run,' before they kissed a forehead.

Good parents are much more consistent than I am: much more consistent.

Or are they?

I know my parents made mistakes. And their parents made mistakes. And that people thought THEY were bad parents.

Parents throughout history have had to endure the glare of scrunched up faces as their life -- with all its loud, raucous imperfections -- made an assault on someone else's solitude ... or their idea of the way things should be.

But that is history. Not news.

I'm trying to learn from it. Then let it go.


bassackwards mom said...

glad I stopped by your blog today...

just wanted to say Amen Sista.


Kelly Anne said...

Your children are happy, healthy, well cared for, and VERY well loved (and loving, as I can tell from photos of their interactions with each other).

So no matter how many "wrong" things you are doing (... ? ), you're clearly doing something very, very right.

Kcoz said...

Your babies appear to be well cared for in your photos and happy.
I was impressed by the talk you had with Annabel when she wished to run away...I thought that was good parenting.

Judging you if your childrens clothes do not match because you let them pick out their own I think is petty nonsence...To me I see a mother who lets them think for themselves.

It will probably be your house all the neighborhood kids will want to hang out at when they are older.


toyfoto said...

Thank you all.

And Kcoz, it's probably not fair of me to single out clothes and hair as a signifyer for judgement more so than the bad parenting moments one might witness through tantrums and exhausted tirades. I also realize that preteen and teen neighborhood hangouts don't always have the best parents watching over the kids.

I love my children. I make mistakes. I try to make fewer.

The Management said...

That's all any of us can do.

There is no shortage of forces out there that conspire to make us feel guilty, angry, unhappy, anxious, etc about our choices and our children. I think you're smart to stick to what feels right to you, and let the rest go. It's the only way to preserve your own sanity.

As far as June Cleaver goes...she must have been on *something*, right...?

toyfoto said...

I think the most important thing about June Cleaver is that she was made not of flesh and blood but out of the imagination of network honchos who were selling an ideal.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Life with June Cleaver would be so friggin' boring. Keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

I don't "know" you except through our internet encounters but you seem to be the kind of mom I'd hang out with. Real, accepting and willing to learn from your kids. We just had a playdate with dear friends where our kids took turns shrieking, crying, hitting and throwing rocks. We're all fantastic parents and we all had a lot of fun. You're welcome to join us anytime.

gkgirl said...

it is hard to let go...
regardless how much you know you
should or how wrong you know
"their" information to be...

it still hurts
and rankles and bites...

i tend to hold grudges
and envision payback...
but don't go by me...
that may not be the best
way to handle things...

love your blog!

supa said...

Nodding, nodding. We do the best we can with the resources at our disposal.

Acknowledging that it's OK for me to make a mistake is the highest hurdle so far in parenting. ("If I screw this up, if I make the wrong decision ... they'll grow up to be AX MURDERERS!")

wonderful post as always, sio.

Binky said...

I'm not sure I'd want to see the neurotic mess of a child that "perfect parenting" would create.