Have you ever read something that not only set off that light bulb, but actually glowed so bright it blew a fuse? Recently I had one of those moments that so surpassed an "uh huh" moment. A friend had posted an article on facebook. I don't normally read these things, normally I just scroll on by. For whatever reason I read it.
Holy Cow! How did that guy know so much about me without ever meeting me?
My children are my life. I have said this so many times that I feel like a broken record, but I am a stay at home mother because my children are my life. Christopher and I decided that it was worth the financial struggle for me to stay at home, and for us to be a one income family. It was important to us that I was able to be at home and to make sure that there was a healthy hot meal on the table at night. It was important to us that if they were sick, I was here. Please don't mistake this for pretending that working mothers don't want those same things for their children, or that all of them were not able to achieve this and work. All to often Stay at Home Mothers and Working Mothers play this stupid jealous game where we resent the other. Out of jealousy the Working Mother says that she too would love to stay home and sit in track pants all day, but how could they afford to live? The Stay at Home Mom in jealousy says it must be nice to pay someone else to raise your children for you. The thing is that being a stay at home mom is a sacrifice, being a working mom is a sacrifice, instead of being jealous, just be happy in your choice, and respect the choices of others.
Growing up my family struggled. I wanted my children to have everything that I didn't have, and then some. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in this one. Most of us want better for our children. I am a bubble wrap parent, I want to shield my babies from pain, from injustice. I forget that pain and injustice form us. Failure is what helps us to learn. If we don't make those mistakes, then we don't know what we actually have. When I look back at my life, all those struggles, those failures, mistakes, injustices, they made me who I am. I am trying to deny my children a basic right, the right to be wrong, to get dirty, to make mistakes.
At night in the dark, my husband and I lay awake talking. This is our time to discuss the days events without little ears. We discuss our failings as parents or our triumphs. More often than not we talk about why our children seem so ungrateful. When I think about it, sitting here it seems more like whining. "I give them everything, and they appreciate nothing!" Although this is whiny, it's also true. My children are ungrateful, but it's my fault not theirs. We have handed them everything that they have wanted, and expected nothing of them in return. They have never known what it is to do without, so how can they possibly know what it is like to be truly grateful? I don't let them fail, so how can they thirst for that desire to win? It is like asking a child to be grateful for the sun, when that is all they have ever known. We have broken our children.
I am going to change the rules of the game, mid-game. This bandaid is going to hurt them when I pull it off, but it's for their own good! I am going to allow my kids to fail. I am going to root them on from the sidelines, but let them make mistakes, get dirty and God forbid fail. In other words I am going to let them live their own lives. I'm not pretending that this will be easy, or quiet and painless. Wish me luck!