Snap! Sometimes my kids are the bratty business. Why is this? Are kids naughtier today than in the past? Or did our parents just ignore it better? I've talked about this with several moms and we seem to agree that today's kids are probably no more naughty than we were, but rather, parenting styles have changed and we're all so much more in-tune with the children these days. It's easy to get caught up in nurturing them the right way so they'll grow up to be empathetic individuals with high self esteem whose actions are dictated by the natural rewards and consequences of their chosen behavior. Wow. That sure sounds like a load of b.s. How about this? Why doncha just freakin' do what I say because I freaking know best?! Uh-oh, I've turned into the Swearing Mommy (NY-er magazine character).
I love my kids. Soooooo much. They are good kids. But sometimes they drive me The Crazy. They bicker with each other, they are unpredictably naughty sometimes even though they certainly know better, Caroline can sure be a sassy-pants, Jack is sometimes dogmatic and stubborn, and they don't listen so good at times. Ahhhhhhhh! What's a mother to do? Suffer the little children. Suffer.The.Little.Children. My atheist dad gave me this biblical line, and it helps. I have repeated it in my head like a mantra many, many times. It's hard to be a parent, yo. I'm constantly checking myself to see if I'm doing a good enough job balancing freedom and responsibility (Nietzsche is my Dr. Spock--haha), and if I'm doing or saying (ahem--I'm the sassy business, no question where Caroline gets it) anything that's going to screw them up in the future. What I need to be better at is just accepting things as they are. That I am doing my best. That they will be naughty and mess up. That I will screw up. And that we will all turn out ok. But maybe if I bought me some shootin' muffs and started wearing them around the kids that would help take the edge off, too. Not hearing every peep out of them and feeling like I should jump in and start managing would be a good thing. When we were kids and would visit my Grandma Ethel, her house had the best play room ever, called simply, The Big Room. The Big Room was completely sealed off from the rest of the house with a thick, soundproof slider. The adults could see us but not hear us. Brilliant! So, it's either add on, get some muffs, turn on some music (this does help, I've noticed), dial back the mommy managment, or all of the above. Holy shit! Can you even imagine the bliss?
So here are a few lines from Neruda's Sonnet XXVII that are my truth when I think about my darling kids. My darling, naughty kids:
"...I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way."