Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Asking the "village" - Saving for therapy or bail

Lucy and her "five-cents-please" psy...
Lucy and her "five-cents-please" psychiatric help booth as depicted at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There was a time when I only half jokingly looked at my two boys and then back at myself and determined that instead of saving for college, we should instead save for future therapy bills and bail money.  I can say that in this public forum, because now I look at my two sons and am truly amazed by both of them.  They know that I am in awe of their present day selves and that I must have been forced back then, at gunpoint, to say such things.  In fact, I was just an awfully sleep deprived, mildly depressed, mom of  a toddler and preschooler who couldn't seem to believe that the whole thing (meaning their very lives) was going to turn out all that well with me at the helm.

As suspected, when I raised the question about what other people felt was on their parenting test, the fear of "ruining" our kids and specifically, "parental screw-up induced therapy" (I'm coining that), came up.  After thinking about all the funny or self-deprecating things I could say on this topic, I changed my mind.  What I decided is this, if you are a person who is taking time to read blogs and then spend even 2 seconds reflecting on ideas from other parents, as they relate to your parenting, you should shake off your fears.  You are awesome!  We all survived our own childhoods.  I'm pretty sure my parents did a quick skim of Dr. Spock and left it at that for the entirety of all five of our childhoods.  Some of us were lucky and had parents who were super great and guess what?  Some of those lucky people still go to therapy (not that it's a bad thing, some of my favorite people go to therapy). 

The interesting thing for me about my therapy or bail quandary was that I was thinking of the choice because of how different my boys were at the time.  I knew I wasn't going to screw them up in the same way because they are not the same.  I had one son who couldn't get enough hugs, hand holds, kisses, and lap sits even though I was completely touched out from the demands of a little one and breastfeeding.  There were days when I felt like I was actually rejecting him.  The other boy didn't need the touch as much as he needed structure and physical activity.  Again, a problem for me on those days (too many it seemed), when I just wanted a very long nap or at least another viewing of Elmopalooza while I stretched out horizontal on the couch.

Cut to the present day and I'm proud to proclaim that I have beautiful, talented, caring, truly amazing, and still very different boys.  I honestly don't know how it worked out.  Kids are pretty resilient though and deep down they can tell if we love them or not.  It turns out that we can make a ton of mistakes and be normal, imperfect people.  What does seem to work really, really, really well is when we figure out how to love them more than we love being right, or more than we love approval from our family or neighbors, or more than our own self-image.  We probably should just save for our own therapy.  All of our anxiety about our choices and parenting style boil down to us trying to finish our own stuff.   Drop the anxiety.  Embrace your imperfection.  Love.  That's what your kids want from you, that and another hug, and a bike ride, and a new toy, and a.....

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1 comment:

  1. I love this line..."What does seem to work really, really, really well is when we figure out how to love them more than we love being right"