Specifically, if I met you during the years of 1985 through 1997, and said anything at all, made one comment or even a single statement, about parenting, child-rearing, discipline, control, obedience, or parental authority. Because I did not yet have children, and although I was unaware of it at the time, I was clearly TALKING OUT OF MY ASS.
I attended a scrapbook retreat this weekend with about twenty women who were all friendly, cheerful, lovely. However, as is often the case in life (or more specifically, at scrapbook retreats where tables are lined up next to one another) some people talk more loudly than others, and when you are in close proximity to other people's conversations, you (meaning ME) sometimes cannot help but overhear.
Earlier today, I
The other woman was only too eager to chime in as a parental "authority". She spoke volumes about her experience raising her children, and what she had decreed to be "right" and "wrong" in the field of parenting. She discussed at great length the successes she has had, the challenges she has faced, the trials of raising happy, obedient, curious children, and the overwhelming joy she takes in knowing she has done her job well. The age of her oldest child? Five.
I listened to this conversation .... to the claims and comments about "My child won't..." and "My child will ...." and "I will never ..." and "I will always ..." and I swear, my eyes rolled so far back in my head I could see my own tramp stamp.
Then I started laughing because holy cow, they sounded so ridiculous, and I'm sure I used to sound just like them!
I looked over at my girlfriend Alisa, herself the mother of four, who laughed with me and whispered, "Just wait. She'll be blessed with a 'spirited' child and will have to eat every word." Actually, what she said was, "Just watch. She'll get one just like Luke." Luke is Alisa's third-born and although *I* think he is delightful, Alisa promises he is a handful.
Now, I make no claim to be a child-rearing expert. As I type this, one child is eating Sweet Tarts for dinner (at 9:30 at night, after returning home from a birthday swim party where I forgot to send sunscreen). Another child is on the sofa, watching television, butt naked, because clothes are "too much work". And the third child has gone to her room to pout, angry with me, because *she* had to pay a fine because *her* library books were late.
Clearly, I have room for improvement in the parenting-skills arena. And I know these women will most likely come to realize the same things about themselves some day.
I'm not even sure I'll have the hang of this parenting gig by the time they're eighteen and off to college, but as long as they're off to college and not in jail I'll consider it at least a moderate success. (touch wood, please no jail!)
So to anyone who might have been caught in the crossfire of me and my delusional parenting plans and expertise -- you know, the expertise I had BEFORE I had kids -- I'm truly sorry.