Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am Not a Good Mom

Today I smashed a plastic water pitcher against the kitchen counter, breaking it into a dozen pieces, yelling "F*ck it all!" at the same time. We were out of drinking water because I hadn't filled the Berkey the night before, or earlier this morning, and Zao was thirsty and asking for a drink.

While yelling and carrying on, throwing my temper tantrum, somewhere in the midst of it I yelled "I am not a good mom!" and it was like the clouds parted to allow the sunshine through.

I am not a good mom. I have a lot of temper tantrums. I don't parent the way I know I should. To clarify: it's not that I think I am a bad mom, but rather I am not the mom I know I am supposed to be, because I have been too busy trying to "be a good mom." I have allowed the desire for the approval of other people, the desire to fit in and be part of a group, to hinder me from listening and heeding my own inner voice. That is what is keeping me from being a good mom. Does this make any sense?

The problem isn't my temper tantrums. I have the temper tantrum because I've failed my own perverse expectations, some of these expectations I adopted from other people, they aren't even things I believe at my core. Failure to meet expectations is also the reason I lose my temper with Zao. The problem is the expectations. It is expected that a three-and-a-half-year-old be potty trained. At the very least, the parent of said child should be "working" towards this "training." If not, whispers and talking behind that parent's back ensue. Jiminy Crickets, the effing gossiping has got to stop. I've heard it, I've read it, I've participated in it, it is a disgusting part of humanity. Is it so f*cking hard for us to let go and allow other people to be human? Is it so f*cking hard for us to NOT try to fix the whole damn world? What if instead we trusted that other people will find their way? Why do we feel like that way has to look like ours? What if they don't agree with "our" peaceful parenting ideals and manipulations efforts? What if they spank? What if they circumcise? What if they eat white bread, food dyes, bacon, or tofu? What if they allow their children to stay up until midnight watching tv shows you would never let your kids watch in a million years? Are they bad parents?

I am not a good mom. I have failed at peaceful parenting, zen parenting, Christian parenting, disciplined parenting, authoritarian parenting - I have failed every single parenting "stigma" in all the books on shelves and pdf files. Even if I have successfully done all those things to the letter, I am not a good mom, because I am not authentically parenting. I am not listening to my child, what my child actually needs from me to learn and grow and function in this world. I am not listening to my own heart and my own wisdom, to do all of that, either.

And what I hear from my children, what I hear from my heart, is to stop the manipulation, even if it is done peacefully. To stop the cycle of fear and anxiety, to stop propitiating the expectations of others so that we can be called "good" and receive approval for our comings and goings. And firstly it stops with myself. I have to be authentically me, and allow others, especially my children, to be authentically themselves. Even if that is ugly, broken, and whispered about when my back is turned. And to stop being disappointed with them when what they are isn't what I imagined, even if it from the safety of social networking.

Zao is still in diapers, and he doesn't speak much. He watches a lot of tv and plays with toy cars all day long. He will not be going to preschool, or kindergarten, and I don't teach him his shapes or colors or numbers here at home because he isn't interested. He plays, and is a child. He loves milk and bread and cookies and carrots and bacon, Disney movies, and playing in the dirt outside.

That's all awesome. Or it's all horrible. Maybe it's both! Or neither: It is who Zao is right now, and how he spends his time. For me to manipulate those things so that he can meet the expectations of other people who don't know or love him is a massive infringement on his personal freedom as a human being.

I am not going to do that to him anymore, and I am going to stop doing it to myself. How I spend my time, what I eat, I am so ever-loving tired of thinking of it all in terms of good or bad, and then subsequently feeling guilt or pride in myself, yet never ever feeling like ME.

I am not a good mom. I am Zao's Mom, I am Zao's Sister's Mom. That is enough.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you are my daughter. I love you as you are. Temper and all, I think you are wonderful.