So I’ve been thinking lately a lot about a particular topic. Well, two topics actually that are a little bit related. I’ve been trying to work them into poems, but nothing’s happening. Some may say I should make it happen, which is another topic entirely, but as everyone knows, a poem chooses you. Since this was the case, I thought I’d used the ideas and come up with a Mamablogue.
First, I think I may be ruining my children, and I think I may be unable to stop it. I am doing this with my behavior and it’s as simple as this: when the kids ask me for something, anything, like procuring food or drink, to load up pbskids on the internet for them, or Kammy’s favorite, to sit and watch a movie with her, I usually do it begrudgingly. How can a loving mother begrudge her kids these things?
Well, timing is a big part of it. I think they actually wait for me to have just sat down for a break before they ask me for help. They wait until after I have fed them lunch on a silver platter and with a flourish, and then they wait a little bit longer until I have scraped their plates into the garbage because they didn’t eat a bite of it, and then they ask me for food. And I have no idea why Kammy waits until I am in the middle of housework, when I’m so not busy with housework so much of the time, to ask me to watch a movie with her. And it’s not like she just asks, either; she completely lays a guilt trip on me, like I’ve been ignoring her for days.
Which might be more true than I actually realize. I spend a lot of time trying to tune my kids out. Well, let me be precise, since I am baring a grave fault. I spend a lot of time trying to tune my kids and their many friends out. I realize kids are just kids and that they come naturally with noise. When there are friends over, I try to let them work out their own arguments as much as possible and only intervene when necessary. So, sure, maybe she feels ignored.
Heaven knows I was completely lost in the shuffle and felt ignored when I was small. Maybe I feel like I am initiating my kids to Pi Delta Life’s Krappola or something.
This isn’t to say I actually was ignored. Well, yes it is, but it’s not to say I had a worse childhood than anyone else on earth. Even spoiled kids have a constant barrage of crap coming their way.
And that’s the thing. My kids are spoiled. The only way for me to naturally unspoil them is to have 4-6 more kids. And let’s face that; it’s not going to happen. I am unfit in every relevant way: emotionally, temporally, physically, and spiritually. I can’t provide them with siblings, but I can provide them with a circle of friends wherein they can learn to function in an environment that does not revolve solely around themselves. And I can ignore them and begrudge their requests.
Necessary? I think so. Cruel? I don’t know. Kidding myself? Most likely. So having dealt with that and effectively talked myself into the hero of for-their-own-good, I come down to the thing for which I cannot talk myself into forgiveness because I think it is unforgivable.
By begrudgingly meeting my children’s requests, by giving them dirty looks when they ask me questions, I fear I am teaching them to refrain from asking questions when they need answers, to refrain from asking for help when they require it. This is probably my own biggest hang up, asking for help when needed (actually it’s admitting I’m less than perfect, though I as well as everyone else can see I’m not. That’s why it’s a hang up). So not only am I projecting this crazy fear on them, I’m ingraining it into them. I’m telling them over and over and over that their questions don’t matter and that they aren’t good enough and that helping them is not worth my time.
And I think in this same way, I am teaching them not to dream because why ask for something if not only won’t they get it, but they’ll feel mocked and belittled for wanting it in the first place? I can already see in Zach a reluctance to ask me for help and a reluctance to ask me for the things he really, really wants.
But there’s good news, if you choose to see it that way. Yesterday I caught the two of them cracking up because Kammy was impersonating “the mom look.” This is a quelling look of supreme annoyance, anger, disgust and disbelief that the recipient could be so stupid that I think I inherited from my dad, though he doesn’t use it very often. Zach would say, “Do the mom look,” and Kammy would twist up her lips and glare at him and they would burst into giggles at my expense. So, maybe we’re even.