Oh, the hard road that is parenting.
Today I'm just going to lay it out there. Be real. Share the dark, embarrassing stuff. Not because I want to shame my children or embarrass myself, but because I so appreciate the ability of those around me that are able to do just that - put it out there and trust that those who really love you will understand.
Because sometimes parenting is hard.
I have amazing children. The baby? Right now he gets a pass in all of this. He can do no wrong. But that's only because he really can't do much of anything. It's the other two. They are intelligent, curious, athletic, funny, and so many other things that it sometimes amazes me just how great they are.
But they aren't always great.
Two weeks ago, the middle one got a referral for punching another student in the "privates" on the bus. Both boys did it, both insist it was a game. Still not ok. And then, upon being asked about it, my child lied to me about what happened.
Yesterday, the oldest one also got a referral on the bus for a "game" where he and another boy ended up spitting on each other. Not ok - but not malicious. Until he argued with the adult in charge about it. And then that same child who insisted he learned his lesson yesterday HIT another child in anger today at their school science fair.
It's been a rough time of self-reflection for this mama. My first thought is "where did I go wrong?" What did I do as their parent that lead to these actions of lying, arguing and hitting? We send them to schools that emphasize peace and kindness, yet their behavior doesn't exhibit that. We talk constantly about being our best selves, living lives of kindness, and respecting others. And I do believe that it isn't just talk - that their dad and I work hard to model those values in our daily lives. So, why isn't it getting through? Why are we seeing these behaviors? And are my kids those kids that other parents talk about?!
I wish I came to this blog tonight with the answers. The post that goes viral with the solutions that everyone needs. But, um, nope. Not gonna find that here.
What you are going to get is a mama who's questioning. Who doesn't have the answers. Who doesn't know if there are answers.
I'm not ok with the "Boys will be boys" mentality. I will not let them excuse away poor choices on their gender. But I also know that as their mom, I will not ever understand what it is to be in their skin, and if nothing else, they have taught me from the moment of their births that boys ARE just different creatures. So I'm left stymied with trying to figure out how to best help them grow into the men I want them to become.
I want them to be honest. I want them to be in control of their bodies. And I want them to be kind. I want them to figure out how to recognize and acknowledge their emotions without necessarily acting on them.
But I also need to find out what they want. Who they want to be. What they value most in themselves and want in their future.
I need to do more listening. Need to build in more moments where we have the time for them to be honest about their feelings and we can work out together how to deal with them. I need to talk with them about values and how we constantly strive to do better than we did today - so they know that we are all working to become the people we want to be.
And finding that time is hard.
But it should be a little easier now that they've lost video games and such... ;)
Ah, parenting. Why do you have to be so hard?