Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An "All Seriousness" Aside

Normally I try to be witty in these posts. But, today I'm writing straight from the heart  about a subject that weighs heavily on it, namely - what will become of my Critters?

Hubby and I have raised (are still raising) a houseful of talented, outgoing, caring, bright and enthusiastic young people. People compliment us all the time on our great kids, to which I reply, "Thanks! I like them too!"

Only, sometimes I don't.

WHAT A HORRIBLE THING TO SAY!!!!! Yeah, but real. And if you really admit it, you've felt the same way about yours occasionally too. It's okay. They feel that way about us parents more often than we'd like to think they do, and it doesn't change how much we love them, right?

Sometimes, I get so frustrated that I just want to throw my hands up, throw in the towel, THROW ANYTHING! It usually happens when they are acting like, well... kids, and not the mature and wonderful people everyone thinks they are. Funny how their childish actions make me want to act childish too. Like yesterday, when I finally did throw something and shook up the entire household. (The clatter from the handful of silverware I was getting out to set the dinner table with as they fell forcefully back into the drawer was extremely satisfying!) I didn't stay around to see the effect it had, but stormed out of the house in bare feet and headed down the driveway to cool off.

The Critter who added the last straw wasn't most to blame for my overload, but the one who was, was oblivious. So really, all my little tantrum did was set a bad example. And therein lies the rub. Hubby and I work hard to set a good example for the Critters to follow. For him it comes naturally, but I have to overcome a plenitude of natural inclinations to be the kind of person I hope they will become. When they display those same natural tendencies, I worry. I recognize negative behavior when I see it because I've been there, still am there, fighting it tooth and nail. I want them to be more like Hubby, and less like their Momster. Not that I don't like myself, mind you: Narcissism is one of those natural inclinations I was just mentioning. But it's harder to overcome bad habits than avoid developing them in the first place.

One of the Critters (I won't mention names, but he just graduated) started his first real job yesterday, and already he's moaning about it. After one day! I've seen this kid spend countless hours writing a paper or memorizing a script, skipping meals and working on stage till he could barely stand, holding doors for people, donating blood, serving on the altar at Mass ---- he's a good kid, and hardworking when he wants to be (though sometimes I wish he'd never been introduced to video gaming). I am immensely proud of his many accomplishments. But he has a poor me attitude about having to work hard this summer before college, and I just don't get it! His dad works two, sometimes three jobs. On top of my writing and everything else I do around here as mother of five, I went back to work when Firstborn started college to help pay the bills. She's working three jobs herself. None of us prefer to bust our butts like we do, but we do it because we need to. This Critter knew he would have to help pay for college, yet it was Hubby and I who tracked down job leads for him since he had "other priorities". It's not our fault he turned down the cushy camp councilor job since it would mean not seeing the girlfriend, or didn't keep pursuing the golf course grounds-keeping position, or show a little more enthusiasm for waiting tables.

Sometimes you just do what you gotta do.

I wish that I could just hand him the money for college, but then again, maybe I don't. Where's the lesson in that? Entitlement attitudes abound today, and wouldn't that just play into it?

There is a lack in my parenting skills that is becoming increasing evident: I hate to see my kids suffer. I rescue them time and time again, and then I resent it. This time I want to stand firm, make him tough it out and build character. But I also want him to just stop whining.

Maybe I should set the example.


  1. I love your honesty! It's true: I like my kids a great deal as well, except for those moments when I don't. :)

    This whole post resounds with me on multiple levels: wanting to help my kids, wanting to not help my kids so they can learn and grow, wanting to complain about their complaining, knowing I should set an example.

    You are doing a great job. Hang in there. These lessons WILL stick, and your kids (and you) will make it!

  2. Thanks, Robin.

    The perspective seemed momentarily bleak from the inside, but when I stepped back to look at things against the greater scheme, focus shifted back where it belongs. Sometimes, impatience to have the Critters already be who they're on the road to becoming gets in the way of my seeing the specialness of who they are now - hope that mouthful makes sense!

    Regardless, his next day was much better, and the complaints were minimum. In fact, I think he may have actually enjoyed the work! Thank God for small favors!