One of my lovely daughters made this comment from the backseat during a slightly heated rant in the car the other day. My husband and I immediately began trying to hide our laughter. It was one of those moments when you know laughing is only going to escalate the situation but the irony was so intense all you can do is laugh.
I don’t even remember what she was upset about at the time. I mean, we’ve reached the stage of parenting where crazy rules are formed, like “You can’t express anger at someone for looking at you.” Note, the rule concerns expressed anger- actions not feelings- parenting four has taught me to be explicit with word choice.
Really and truly, I was so impressed to have improved so much in her eyes that even in a moment of anger, I was still considered “okay.” I’ve been called much worse during prior arguments. I think I’ve decided that to be an okay parent is fine.
I no longer aspire to instill a love of language and extensive vocabulary, in all four children. The classics of my childhood have mostly been rejected as boring. But, if we can get them to read the occasional book, (despite the high use of Disney+, Netflix and YouTube). It’s okay.
I look at the entire shelf of processed foods and white bread that gets packed daily in school lunches. I remember the whole wheat carob chip cookies of my childhood. My mother even ground the wheat berries to get flour for the bread she baked from scratch each week. When I bake bread, it’s normally by popping open a can. I’m still okay.
Now as an adult, I see one of the truest expressions of my mother’s love was the Pocahontas costume she made for me in first grade, and the wedding dress we sewed together. My children’s Halloween costume options are determined by what’s in stock at Target or available with Prime Shipping. Still, I’m okay.
I guess really, I want my children to trust me enough to vent their frustrations – even though I often mistake venting as request for a solution. I want my children to be able to share their hurts and the growing pains of changing relationships. I want to be who they text with good news. The one who can be counted on to celebrate the small everyday successes.
Ultimately, I want my children to know I will always love them as they are. That would be spectacular parenting though and I’m dealing with the emotions of children pre-kindergarten to high school. This is the messy middle where I’ve tried parenting suggestions, read books and research and really all I’ve found out is my children don’t consistently follow the formulas in books. In fact, they follow very few. So, I’m not trying to be spectacular, as long as the arguments end by bedtime- I’m doing okay as mom.