Parenting is not for the weak of heart or character. Of course that doesn’t mean that people necessarily have the insight or even desire to determine if they have the fortitude, patience, strength of character, bladder, and stomach to be a parent. Most of us go into it wide eyed and filled with excitement and maybe a touch of apprehension due to the unknown. Sometimes parenthood comes unexpectedly, sometimes it comes after months or even years of trying. Sometimes it comes the ‘old fashioned’ way and sometimes it comes by less conventional, but no less worthy ways.
It really doesn’t matter how one becomes a parent.
What matters is what you do next.
There is a long standing joke that kids don’t come with an instruction manual and that is the truth. No manual, directions, or even a re-set button. We are left to rely on what we learned as a child from our own parents, what we’ve read, observed friends and relatives doing, and whatever pop culture guru of the time is preaching as parenting gospel. Truthfully though, most of us wing it.
Yes, you can read the books and prepare yourself intellectually, physically, financially, and you may think emotionally, but nothing ever prepares you for the depth of love and feeling you have for your child(ren). No one tells you that you would gladly disembowel anyone who dares hurt your child, in any way shape or form (sorry for the reference – recently discovered the Walking Dead and it’s changed me…). No one tells you that sometimes it feels like your heart may actually explode with love, pride, and often both. Or how it will physically ache when one of your children has been hurt or disappointed and there is nothing you can do about it.
None of this is news. What I’m struggling with as of late is how I think my ‘slightly’ aggressive personality may have negatively impacted both of my younger children. I don’t know when to shut up. I am of the mind that if I have an opinion, everyone needs to know it (which is why you’re getting to read this!). I like sugar in and on my food but refuse, on principle, to sugar coat much else. I am a bull in a China shop on a good day. My mouth works faster than my brain and my vocabulary, when it comes to off colour language in particular, is nothing short of spectacular. The more fired up I am, the more my mouth takes off and I don’t have “resting bitch face”; I have “on purpose talk to me and I’ll cut you, bitch face”. It’s a problem.
Without getting into specifics I think my ‘passion’ has finally, or maybe I should say again, bit me in the ass. However I don’t think it’s even my ass that’s been bit. It’s the two cute little asses that belong to me. Maybe I’m reading too much into things but I do know that after 20+ years of thinking and telling myself to shut up, and 20+ years of ignoring that sage advice? It’s caught up to them. I don’t play well with others and nothing gets this girl fired up than the sense that something is simply “unfair”. At almost 40 you’d think I’d have a pretty good grip on the whole ‘life is not fair’ concept but for whatever reason I have an overly developed sense of right and wrong.
Most of the time I am quite proud of my convictions and their strength but I’m still figuring out how to learn when it’s okay to vehemently argue or express an option (racism, sexism, homophobia, discrimination of any sort, and people who chew with their mouths open), and when I need to just ride some shit out.
Again, being probably more analytical than is helpful and a touch of an over-thinker, I might be reading too much into things. I second guess myself often and then think, again to myself (I keep myself very good company and we are almost never bored), “No, you’re right. You’re smart and can assess other people like a mothertrucker.” It’s quite the conundrum. So this year (yeah yeah, only 6 weeks left of this year but it’s a different year I’m referring to), I am keeping mah mouth shut. For real. Yes, this means I mostly keep to myself but if you’ve been following along, small talk isn’t really my forte anyway! Oh, and yep, it’s all or nothing with me (also something to work on!) so I am slowly but surely trying to figure or establish a nice, social version of myself who keeps it on the surface and doesn’t refer to anyone as a See You Next Tuesday (if you don’t get that, you’re more of a lady than I and should be proud of that fact! If you do, let’s do drinks.).
In summation, if you see me and I’m sitting close lipped and look guarded and completely unapproachable? I’m just trying to keep myself out of trouble – it’s the same principle I apply to cookies – if I don’t have them in the house I won’t eat them. If I don’t talk to anyone, I can’t offend anyone…however, given I do buy and enjoy cookies from time to time, it’s safe to say my mouth will not remain shut and I will repent, lament, and try again.
If it was just me? I’d gladly say you-know-what it and keep on keepin’ on and expressing myself. However, one of the most integral parts of parenting is being able to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own, when it really matters, and this momma is not about to let her temper and loud mouth get in the way anymore. I think we could all stand to gain a little from my silence (mostly my husband though, in fact, an early Merry Christmas to the big guy!).