This is true for all of us in our various stages of life. My younger son is constantly saying that he wishes the day was a few hours longer, but this is in the quest for more reading or DS time. I remember feeling that way in school, but it was usually because I hadn’t finished some assignment or another. My husband feels that way (quite rightly) because he blows two hours a day on commuting. In New England. Where we live, a two hour commute isn’t so much about traffic as the fact that most roads around here are merely paved over cow paths. Meandering. Random. GPS-defying.
For the modern mom, though, it’s turned into the obvious quest to be better than every other mom…or, barring that, just not to feel like the world’s crappiest mom as everybody we know is pinning cute ideas and seeing them through, moving their elf on the shelf like Martha was watching, or just generally appearing to be perfectly beatific. We’re actually none of us like that. I suspect we’re more like this. Except, I hope I’m not to be found lying on the floor at the end of everything. And I think Elizabeth Banks is awesome, by the way.
I’m not perfect. Holy hell, I know I’m not. I grew up with a priest for a father, and got to hear all the jokes and jibes. But when you grow up seeing perfection, so-called, in that light…I found myself seeing people quite differently than I otherwise might have. I’m also quite acutely aware of my own flaws. In addition to what I’ve just mentioned about my childhood, I grew up in a household where, how shall I say this…nobody EVER liked to admit being wrong or at fault. And defensiveness was ALWAYS the best offense. I won’t go into the particulars…good grief, I’ve been trying to talk through them my entire adult life, but I think the whole of it dumped me off in adulthood being a little hobbled. I know for a fact that it’s involved in about 50% of the arguments that I find myself in with my husband.
But let me face this:
I tend to react to teasing badly. Wonder why? Hmmm. I used to get teased endlessly if I said something the wrong way, or said something that was “dumb” – I still recall being teased for years because one time I happened to pronounce the word “leg” as “lag” – it turned into part of a mocking nickname that I had. And I’m not free from sin in that area. Because it was normal in how we functioned, I’m sure I participated with the younger members of the family as well. But it isn’t normal. And it isn’t nice. I try really hard not to perpetuate the teasing…BUT, that leads me to the next thing….
I never learned how to laugh at myself and that making mistakes is no big deal. When nobody admits fault, or is willing to look at mistakes, you never learn these two (I think) crucial things. You start pointing fingers everywhere but at yourself. You get mad at silly things. You tell yourself that you’re too good for levity, or better than others…to me, it’s a troubling place to be. I should know. I’m still struggling to get free. Nothing was more obvious than that point when some extended family and I were all together at a restaurant, and the server spilled a tray of drinks on two of the party. One, an adult who had come from the same “system” as me, struggled for a moment, and decided to be upbeat about it. The other, a child, had parents who cautioned us “not to laugh, because (the child) gets mad,” about being laughed at. I suddenly realized that we were keeping up the myth. People laughing at a situation doesn’t mean being laughed AT, it means we’re trying to be positive about something that’s challenging. I know other members of my family who would have become enraged or at least seething about such a thing happening to them.
Lastly, the one big ding I have on myself is feeling like a social moron – I don’t think it’s a construct…it’s me. I didn’t have an ongoing example to draw from growing up…this is where social media can be helpful and…um, not so much, at times. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and to focus on the other person a lot more, through the years…at the same time, the internet can be at times vague, polarizing, too easy…basically a dumping ground.
So there I am, laid bare. Just like everybody else, I’m hard on myself, a doubter, a seeker, insecure, sometimes drowning….but I know now that everybody else is like me too. Sure, there are challenges that are unique to my life…but again, I’m special, just like everybody else. It’s somewhat reassuring and somewhat terrifying. Nobody has the time that they need or want – so when I feel like I never get to edit or that the frigging snow days are going to be the end of my sanity…hundreds of other parents feel the same way.
I’m sure all I need is a support group comprised of all the other people who are just like me, awkward, time-crunched, lonely people, who like to sip wine and watch Dr. Who (or Downton Abbey, or Psych)…god knows I’m not coming across them yet! Somebody should (and quickly) get on this: a dating site for people who just want friends…okay, I’m getting carried away. This editing isn’t going to happen on its own, and we have a birthday to do today, wrestling practice, winter concert, and V-day tomorrow, shopping on Friday for a party on Saturday…it’s just a little heart attack, right?