DISCLAIMER: Recent events have caused me to open my eyes to the community and the recent shifts things have taken. I am in no way an anti-feminist, as I am a woman and that seems like a stranger predicament to be in. I believe women have goals, dreams and successes as does anyone else in this world. I also believe anyone, male or female should be granted the opportunity to pursue their dreams and work hard to accomplish something they believe in.
You see, let me briefly explain my view point and then I will go into a slight rant of what I’m dealing with only to be concluded by my own personal end point.
Ok, currently this is where I sit. I am a mother, though I have no kids, I have 3. No, this is not a typo. I am the oldest of 3 kids. I am currently living at home while I am getting a good and responsible foundation for a life with my boyfriend. I live with my mother, whom is experiencing a mid-life crisis, essentially, she is kid #3. My brother is 12. He’s the only real “kid” in the house. By kid I mean someone that is not legally an adult. Although he acts the most reasonably out of all of my figurative kids. My sister, well she’s 21. She has her own issues. She’s too headstrong to be mothered anymore but I mother-hen her in my own way in regards to what she says and how I answer. If she’s happy things are peaceful. It’s a game of eggshells. My mother is 50. Yep. I said it. F-I-F-T-Y. My mother used to be the most mature, fun loving, goofy person I knew. The dichotomy of our relationship has changed over the past almost 3 years now and it’s directed my opinions of raising my own children in a completely different direction.
Now, my mother is a dreamer. I never realized that about her until I gained some adult perspective. She is always looking for something else, something new to experience, something to make her feel validated. She lacks security and self esteem. She is graceful and most often times professional and successful in a professional arena. She is kind and caring to those around her. She tries to be fair. But, she often times loses sight of what’s important.
I am a child raised through a divorce. I say it that way because it only influenced who I am, it didn’t change or maim me as some people think it does to children. From the time I was 12 until I moved into my first apartment I lived with my father. My father is very grounded. He believed that above all things, even his wants and needs, his duty as a father comes first. He always put food on the table for us. He was ALWAYS at our sporting events, both my sisters and mine, sometimes in one day. He was always 100% there, no matter how little sleep he got after working his 16 hour shift at the factory. So my ideals of fatherhood are pristine. My dad was FAR from perfect, but he tried as hard as humanly possible. You gotta respect a man for that.
Now, my mother has left me with sort of a different view on motherhood and it’s something that when mixed with my father’s style of parenting leaves me asking
WHAT THE F*** I mean, how? From my perspective she allows her own priorities of the desire for new kitchen counter tops (our house is very nice and almost Pottery Barn Style, I should mention) to cloud what is going on around the house with the human beings sharing the space, living, breathing and growing every single day. She is too afraid of messes being made and in my eyes and ears I hear not “messes” but “memories” being made, to see the joy around her. She focuses on who’s staying with the little one so she can afford herself some time off to go out for a few hours. I’m all about a little time off, I think everyone needs it. Heck! I have a puppy I would love a night away from but that doesn’t happen! But I think her inherent need for the selfishness that most baby boomers her age get to experience at this age is coming before the priorities and obligations of being a mom.
I have taken it upon myself to do the “fill in the blank” work while she is off doing the things that she feels she needs to do. I clean what she expresses anxiety about, I cook dinner when she doesn’t. I babysit when she needs me to. Here’s the thing… WHEN DOES THIS STOP? This is all hinged on her finding new and creative ways to fill the gap that is a significant other. But what if there is no end? All the things I consider priorities have fallen to the way side. What it boils down to is, PRIORITIZE PEOPLE!!!
Here is where I am going to pretend to know what I’m talking about when it comes to parenting. I figure at this point I have as much “pre-parent” experience as I can get, being a surrogate mother, the oldest of 3 as well as a mature adult with hopes of having my own family one day.
So, I have decided to only use the television as a babysitter when absolutely necessary. I’m a realist, people. I know it will happen. I will need a moment to have a mental break down. To cry, to scream, to drink my wine in peace and watch my trashy TV show. I get that. But, a pseudo mom has to have goals.
I have also decided my children will have video games and electronics, I’m reasonable here, also. HOWEVER, they will be used on weekends only and for monitored time frames. I have seen what constant video games can do to a child’s behavior and perception of reality. I refuse to experience that with my own children.
I will not fret over every single hand print made, smear and smudge on my table, dirt tracked into my house. My children and my family were not meant to fit a house. A house is meant to fit our family. If you can’t be comfortable in your own home, where can you be comfortable? I will not raise my children to be afraid to be comfortable in their environment, although they will be taught to respect things.
Finally, I will teach my kids that above all else, they need to be comfortable in themselves and that ONE single other person does not embody their happiness. I will teach them security in who they are and that happiness comes in so many shapes and sizes. I will teach them love instead of worry and faith instead of anxiety. I can thank my father for one style of parenting and my mother for another. And I will be cognoscente of that into the early middle and late stages of parenthood. These are the goals I reach for. These are the opinions I’ve formed into adulthood. My children will be loved, above all else.