Raising Arizona

For some reason Mommy Guilt exists in the hearts of moms. I for one have no Mommy Guilt. I am sure you are yelling out, “hogwash,” “LIAR,” “Fraud,” “BULLSHIT!” But really why the guilt? Why do you feel guilty as a mom? What have you done to feel so much guilt? What haven’t you done to instill your feelings of guilt?

The critics and so called “know-it all” authors of parenting put out books every year telling moms and dads alike how to raise better children. More productive children. Overachievers. Perfect children.

Um, who the fuck wants perfect kids?

I know I don’t. Life would be boring. Dull. My children’s lives would lack luster, uniquity, entertainment, thrill, joy, pleasure, and pain. I also would not be challenged as a person to grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally to deal with the day-to-day challenges of being a parent. (Especially a parent of multiples!)

The TODAY show yielded an interesting segment yesterday that caught my attention. A segment on raising kids. My segue into this was yielded in part by my spinning about a post I read about raising kids and how this post referred to an article about an experiment. I should have said to myself…”who cares really about what some quack says in an experiment…..the endless possibilities and outcomes in an “experiment” will possess tons of variables” but unfortunately the underlying theme was the “Mommy Guilt.” Being that I am a glutton I watched the segment.

So this TODAY show segement that I briefly entertained with my shortened attention mentioned parenting items and how to fix parenting problems. Such as praising children. That praising children does not assist in the self-esteem of children.

Now I am not feeling this. While Michelle Borba quickly quoted a Columbia University study that praise is excellent in adults not in children made me think WTF? Children are little adults in my mind. Your mind acts much the same in the way it processes information, however, an adult will be able to synthesize the information a little bit more in depth and to a certain difficulty than a child. Which would suggest to me that children need the same as adults, with the age appropriate spin. She does also say that if a child is praised based on smarts you are NOT suppose to….but to praise based on effort. I for one see this as CRAP. I think a child, especially children who are young and unsure do like to hear both! I for one can speak from experience. I was urged as a child to work harder and praised on my EFFORTS when I was yielding B’s and A’s in school. I personally felt inadequate and not smart enough because of my less than stellar grades. While I may have invested effort, this did not antiquate to smarts. Although the flip side may be that I was told I was smart and then slacked off in school.
My other problem I have with this segment is kids with the very mention of depression. I understand that kids have feelings and those feelings and needs should be acknowledged by the parents. But running your kid to your local psychologist for a diagnosis of depression as young as age THREE BOGGLES. MY. MIND.
If you honestly feel that your child is depressed did you ever stop to talk to them? No wonder you have guilt. You failed to acknowledge your child, to reach out to them and say, “What do you need from me?” “What can I do for you?” And then SHUT the eff up and listen to them. Don’t parent. Don’t judge. Just listen. Most kids will tell you what they need. If you cannot stop to listen to those needs and assist your child in a healthy manner to assist in the productive, emotional, and spiritual growth, then Xanax sure as hell WON’T!!
I am not saying that kids do not get depressed, I am saying that their depression at the RIPE age of three is probably induced by his or her environment which could quite possibly be alleviated by talk therapy, not drug therapy, also by mom or dad not allowing their children to feed on the environment they create. So Mom or Dad…get help first, for yourselves, before you deem that your child needs help. I am also saying as well that parents should talk to their kids, listening to them is HUGE. I am not sure how many times I will say it but listening is amazing. That is all our kids do…is listen. They listen to and pick up on everything we say and do. If you want to know how bad your life is….LOOK AT YOUR KIDS. They will reflect your home-life, your views, your feelings.

Addition to home-life issues is the issue of your child as a person. The mention of a child being materialistic is based on a learned behavior most likely from the parents. This can be solved. How? Quit worrying about brands, material things, the best. If you have to shop at Macy’s for image then that is your perogative, but do  not expect your child to not demand stuff from Macy’s again if you mention clothes shopping. Giving your child everything like toys, nice clothes, the best shoes, does not show them you love them. This will not alleviate your guilt. This does not boost self esteem in your child. This spoils them. If you want to spoil them fine, but do not defend your child when you later learn of behavioral problems, do not deny the capabilities of your child to wreak havoc.

I guess I am lost on the whole guilt thing with raising children. I go to bed every night knowing that my kids are FABULOUS. Not because they are mine, but because they really are great kids. I have come across some real turds of children and really they are good kids, with AWFUL behavior that is not corrected…by the PARENTS. You know them and this is the short list:

  • No manners
  • Expect everything
  • No respect for anyone or authority figures
  • Materialistic because that is all they know from their parents (the more stuff = higher status, when really this just means you are a bigger douche compensating if you ask me)
  • Throw a fit if they do not get what they want, make demands
  • Ignore the rules, pretend the rules do not apply to them.

I also happened across The View. Man, talk about gluttonous jackpot of parenting segments this week for me to watch and read. This was on spanking. I had a problem with this topic. Not about the “to spank or not to spank” issue but the fact that we as a society are truly so wrapped up in judging ourselves and others based on parenting. I mean really, those who are out there writing the parenting books are the ones who probably had the worst parenting.

Whether you spank or not is based on you and your child, not whether or not your parents spanked you. My parents spanked me, but I do not like to spank. My kids do not respond to a quick swat on the tush. Big G used to get swats, he did not respond well and began hitting back. We corrected the whole situation with no hitting and not spanking so he did not correlate the two. His hitting was in part to feeling inadequate about correctly expressing his feelings. We got him a pound a peg and a stuffed toy to take out his anger and frustration. But I think again our society is so judgmental on whether or not we spank, whether or not to “praise” for the right things at the right time, so many rules.

Parenting comes down to the brass tax of common sense. If you cannot common sense parent then you need a license to breed. I cannot tell anyone how they should or should not raise their children but really folks, do we need to read all of these books that contradict or elaborate further on our day-to-day efforts as a parent?

I have a therapist and a lovely one at that. She taught me how to be a better person, to be better, to not react but to act. With her guidance I have learned to be a better parent and better guide to my children. With that they are happy, level, easy going, unexpecting. Because I am a level person and I do the best I can I carry no mommy guilt. None, nada. I have had one moment of guilt as a parent…..on Wednesday when Big G has his early release day….I forgot it was early release.

The school is no more than five minutes away and he was released at 2:25 I got to the school at 2:40. I felt awful only because I thought he might be afraid. But he was not. He laughed at me and said “Mom, you’re late!” I felt guilty for being late that day, however, my guilt was put at ease by the smile on my son’s face and the fact that he knew I was coming, the day itself slipped my mind for early release.

I guess I feel no guilt about raising my children because of the simple fact that they are not like a car. My best analogy….plus many years in the business you can use the analogy A. LOT! But seriously, kids are not like cars with brand new stickers, they may smell new, that lovely smell each has when you bring them home. Your total lust for each, although the car lust for sure fades while the lust and love of children is eternal. They both operate extremely well with no bumps or dings and you protect each one so gingerly until they get a little older and you know, things happen. But the difference with a car and your child, besides the blatanly obvious, is that Handy Dandy Owner’s Manual.

Children are not sent home with an owner’s manual tucked into their diapers. Just your common sense as a person, your comparative knowledge of how your parent’s raised you, how you think you ought to have been raised or your ideals of raising children. THAT’S IT! So each day we do the best we can. We love with every inch of our mortal selves. At the end of the day, we look forward to tomorrow and the new lessons we learn as parents and say to HELL with the guilt. To hell with the whacks and their books. There is nothing more true than a mother’s intuition. Follow it, embrace it, let your soul  be your guide to raising your children and most of all, no guilt. Parenthood is by FAR the most stressful, full-time, hands-on, kiss my ass I am doing the best I can do job out there! Do not feel guilty for doing the best you can, but be sure to give them your best. Give your kids all you have got, because you only have this one life with them.