Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tiger mom I ain't

I was confronted with a moment in parenting this past week that I didn't think would have happened so soon.

Or at all, actually. 

It was harrrrrd.

My daughter, when faced with a difficult stunt at gymnastics class, seemed to divert her attention elsewhere. The teacher instructed her to listen, or else she wouldn't be able to finish the class with everyone in the ball pit. She ran out in a huff to sulk two feet away from me in the parents' observation area until I found her. 

"So let's leave. So don't do it," I wanted to say.

Oh, what would that teach her, twynmawrmom...

I don't know- to accept her limitations? And early enough so that she can move on to other things?

But, of course, like every good 21st century helicopter parent, I told her to apologize to the teacher, and to say these exact words:
"I promise I'll try harder next week."
It kinda killed a little part of me. 

Me, having been raised by a baby boomer, who fought limitations at every turn so that we wouldn't be faced with any of them, found myself weary of the excellence. The striving to break through barriers. The achievement game. 

Because what good did it do me? Freedom to try everything, at least once? Yes. 

Guilt over staying at home with my two precious ones even though I have an Ivy league masters degree? 

Oh yeah, that. 

And struggling at every turn in my life, to make it bigger, badder, and awesomer than ever before? 

And why? For my blog? For my wiki entry? For my high school friends on Facebook? 

Just be, little sweetheart. Just be yourself.

"More than just a princess..." our new-fangled, girl-empowering, mechanical engineering-inspired toy says on the side of the box.

Why does my daughter have to be - "More"?

All the time, everywhere. Playing with toys. Choosing her activities. Wearing her clothes, and shoes, and headbands. More. More. More.

Be more.

Do more.

Think more.

Have more.

What I'd rather her hear: 

You are. enough.

Accept your ugh.  Don't feel the need to papercraft your child's third birthday party and use your fanciest SLR camera and photoshop skills to plaster your worth all over Pinterest. Yes, put together a beautiful party. Don't seek accolades in the pretense of sharing. 

You can get a mani/pedi outside a 24 hour window before a wedding or beach vacation. You don't even have to 'deserve' it. You can just go when you have the time and money.

There will be things you are good at, and things that achieve a new level of suck you never knew existed.

Especially within yourself.

I struggled to have the conversation with her. How to approach the heart of the matter. How to get to the real lesson I wanted to teach her. I said to her,
"If everybody was perfect at everything, life would be so boring! What would we do all day?" 
She responded:  
"Well...we could just...rest...."
And I wanted to hold her and say ok-
my little two pounder who fought off a hole in her heart by the sheer force of her will - 
- you can handle hard things -
- but you already have. 
So don't anymore.

Just rest. That's fine. 

We can handle life's best things together. 

I feel like I've worked hard in my life and I don't know what it has gotten me. 

I have wonderful amazing people and luxuries in my life, not the least of which is being able to stay home with my two beauties.

But the things I've worked the hardest at - the things that kept me knocking my head against the wall over and over and over again - in hopes of attaining something without distinct shape - without a realistic path on which to tread -

I don't think that was what I was meant to do with my life.

I wish I had thought bigger, like how to translate my best skills into the best, most strategic way possible.

And I wish I had thought smaller, like how to translate the thing that wakes me up in the morning, into the rest of my day's events. 

So stay with me in the parents' observation room while we wait for your brother to finish his gymnastics class. Step back.

Discover your - self- and its best qualities. And trust them. Go where those waters rise to meet you.

Find what you know to be true, and only seek more truth.

Distractions and diversions are just that. They tempt your curiosity, but do not fuel your life's purpose.

You. are enough.

You. Who wouldn't have been born or survived such an early birth 30 years ago. 

You. Who fought a hole in your very own heart with the sheer force of your will. 

You. Who will be thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and generous by your very own nature. 

Take the easy road. 

And don't look back.

You. are enough. 

3 comments:

  1. Here's my thought: The discriminating factor between coaching and pushing is whether the desire comes from the child or the parent. I don't want to push my children beyond their interest level, or make them feel that I value achievement over their feelings, but I also want them to understand that they won't be good at everything on their first attempt. Some things are hard, and some things are worth working towards despite the initial frustration. I think that our job is to provide the appropriate "scaffolding" for our children's efforts, which sometimes involves pushing them past their comfort zone. The trick is to convey simultaneously that they are loved unconditionally & will be supported whatever the outcome.

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  2. I read this not as the mother that I am, but instead as the child, I found tremendous peace in the concept that as my toddlers mother I need not be MORE. Maybe just maybe I am already... enough :)

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  3. You said: "But the things I've worked the hardest at - the things that kept me knocking my head against the wall over and over and over again - in hopes of attaining something without distinct shape - without a realistic path on which to tread -

    I don't think that was what I was meant to do with my life.

    I wish I had thought bigger, like how to translate my best skills into the best, most strategic way possible.

    And I wish I had thought smaller, like how to translate the thing that wakes me up in the morning, into the rest of my day's events."
    You ARE thinking the biggest and best by being a thinking, sensitive, and understanding mom. You're giving them the freedom - that is HUGE. So don't tell me that you're not doing something gigantic and wonderful, and you're doing a great job! :)

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