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Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Adventures in Parenting
My life is far from where I wished it to be. Just a little over a year until I reach my thirties and having 3 children with another one on her way...
I question my own decisions often. But I love them more than life. I want to give them the best and strive to always train them in the right ways.
My trials in parenting have spanned so many obstacles. Most recently, I have been trying to maneuver through life lessons in school, dealing with bullies, and what the golden rule really means.
My oldest son struggles with school. In truth, both of my boys get bored and distracted easily. It takes a very clever and creative teacher to hold their attention. I'm having to really get fancy with how I make school behavior important. After all, how do you explain to an almost 8 year old that getting a good education leads to a finer life? In such a way that they actually want to try harder? I'm creating a rewards system as he seems to think that the finer life will be to just sit around, living with his mother, playing video games all day. Let's be real, kid. Once you become an adult, you will be held responsible. You will pay your own bills. And if I have to kick your butt out to prove it, I will!
Then we have the Golden Rule and bullies. My oldest has been taught, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." So when kids at school bullied him and picked on him, he translated that as that is how they wanted to be treated in turn. And he picked back. Let's give the boy props. In a world where everyone knows that you are supposed to treat others the way you want to be treated, you should know that if you treat someone badly it might come back to bite you. Right?? So I had to explain that no matter how someone treats you, the Rule is that you have to treat them how YOU want to be treated. You don't like being teased? Then don't tease them back when they are mean to you. My younger son, on the other hand, is learning that he has to stand up for himself and speak up. That I will defend him and seek justice for him, but I have to know what happened first. Hearing about the ways he's being treated by school mates has had my blood pressure spiking and the blood boiling. Partly, because this is my baby boy who is shy and quiet and doesn't do a lot of trouble-making. Partly, because my hormones are raging almost as bad as a teenagers right now. I have to remind myself or be reminded to breathe and take it one step at a time. To think it over before reacting. Otherwise I'd probably end up going into a parallel 'roid rage fit over just about anything.
My patience is thinner than normal. So I have to be slower to speak and take longer to think about things. Again, I blame hormones. And I also blame the pain I feel quite often. Being reduced to part time at work has helped, but let's face the music. Until this baby gets here, I'm going to have to bite my lip and deal with muscular pain, popping and grinding joints, headaches, lack of sleep, and the overall feeling of discomfort. But as they say, its all worth it in the end.
Here's even more fun that comes with being a parent - having your words thrown back at you in such a way, that you have to stop and rethink them. Not sure how that goes? Well, I gave you one example with the Golden Rule conversation. But imagine this... My supervisor asked her son, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" We have all heard that one, right? Heard it, said it... Well, his answer is classic. "Well, maybe. There's water under it, right? And you did it before too. So why not?" Ever had a moment like that? No? Just wait, you will. Unless you are raising a useless sheep that follows and never has an original thought of their own.
Which brings me to another challenge I'm facing. Standing up to my 3 kids' father and saying no to his requests for more time with them. Being a divorced parent is ugly. Even when the separation was relatively peaceful, as ours was. It brings hardships and transitions. Only my oldest seems to grasp the "why" of it all. My middle child doesn't care. And my daughter is only concerned with going to her dads to get spoiled. So I have had enough. I was nice about letting him take them repeatedly whenever it suited him. But I've come to realize the damage it causes. He doesn't enforce rules. He doesn't watch them and keep them safe as he's supposed to. And he uses them to pass time because he is "bored". Nearly eight years we were married. Nearly 8 years he had the chance to be a father. Almost 8 years he had to prove that he was willing to do what it took to be the man he needed to be, to love them as he should, to care and provide for them. And he wasted every bit of it. Now that we are mostly out of his life, he has found himself alone, bored, and listless. He has nothing but his under-the-table Lego business to keep him company. Maybe the occasional moments with friends or family. And now, all the sudden, he can't get enough time with the kids. Sadly, I've decided he is a little too late. My kids are getting educated. They are learning discipline. They are learning rewards and consequences (a concept my Sales Manager painted clearly for me recently). I can't allow them to learn his bad habits. To be endangered by his lack of parental guidance. And be led astray by someone they don't really care for, but spend time with just so they can get whatever they want or do whatever they want. (Which is the reason they told me they go.) This is a part of parenting that hurts. And one that I hope they will come to understand in the years that follow.
Being a parent is hard. Its the hardest job I'll ever know. But I face it. I hope and pray that I make it through in one piece. That my children become the greatest they can be. And become Nerds...