My mother is visiting this week. Last night, after putting my son to bed, I lowered my pregnant self onto the sofa and revved up the DVR. Mom said she didn't care what we watched. So I clicked on the newest episode of AMC's "The Walking Dead." As the credits rolled, she stared at me in horror. "This is your favorite show? Isn't it about, like, zombies? How could you possibly relate to or enjoy a show about zombies?" Quite easily, in fact.
I could see my four-year-old son playing on the slide, but my two-year-old son was out of sight -- not unusual as we had a very large, gated yard. I didn't even have time to cover myself before a woman came around the corner, a look of fury on her face and my two-year-old on her hip. "DO YOU KNOW WHERE I JUST FOUND YOUR CHILD?" she screeched.
How courageous do you suspect those victims had to be to come forward? How much time, thought and fortitude do you think they needed to even decide to take a stand, advocate for themselves -- in the face of all forms of painful, targeted, mostly harsh scrutiny and judgment from a variety of sources. IT TAKES COURAGE.
That's the curse with being a mom. In an instant we doubt everything we have done. We quickly blame ourselves. I know my little girl doesn't think she is fat. She heard it on television; and, like so many other words, she repeated it back. However, that doesn't make the moment less important. It doesn't make hearing her say that word any easier. She is a product of her environment. She sees everything. She hears everything. She internalizes everything. As her parents, my husband and I can instill all the self-worth in the world. But, in an instant, it can be broken.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. The word "no" is powerful. Though it is contrary to the people-pleasing nature that is innate in all of us, the word "no" sets clear boundaries. Boundaries that I want my daughter to be confident in setting for herself as she grows older, goes to school, and eventually moves away from our ever-watchful eyes.
I have no patience. I'm snippy, rude and have a short fuse. I think my kids' behaviour is atrocious. Is this because I am newly widowed and stressed out or am I just another mom dealing with kids? I don't know the line between what is normal and what is a result of our grief? I am confused, frustrated and feel like a failure as a parent.
I hope that we can still be friends, but I understand if it's just too awkward for the next 15 years or so. Perhaps I'm high maintenance, but I feel that a three year old should eat his or her lunch sitting in a chair rather than standing on the kitchen table throwing crackers at another child. I do not believe my son should be hiding in the bathroom for an hour during a play date just to avoid his "friend."
Our children need to develop and equip their own tool box -- we cannot do it for them. This is not our job, nor should we be trying to make our children's happiness and success our goals. This generation of parents is much too eager to do their children's work for them, and therein lies the problem.
The rumours about home-schooling moms are true: there are days where I don't get out of my pyjamas. On those days, my kids and I snuggle up on the couch with tea and a blanket and our lesson books. We leisurely read about kings and queens and islands and earthquakes and I never once give thought to putting on grown-up pants.
Having been inside many baseball dressing rooms over the years as a sports reporter, and inside the players-only areas of many other sports arenas and venues as a member of the media, I can tell you, this is a private area for the members of that team and should be left as such. That's their domain, their space and should be treated that way. And that includes bringing your kids to work.
5 years post divorce, after selling and moving out of my matrimonial home, I can say that I have survived, and made it through some of the toughest aspects of divorce. Establishing a new relationship with my son's dad was not an easy road, but we did it, and we definitely fare better than most. Despite all of the triumphs, there are some things that continue to be really, really hard post divorce.