Remember back in August when I asked for questions because I was having writer's block? Well, I kind of am at the same place again...and am going to answer Lee's question now to jumpstart my creative juices.
"What I might ask if we chatted over coffee would be how has your childhood informed how you parent your children today? I would ask this because although I am not adopted I had a very um odd family dynamic and found myself doing lots of sifting and casting out of things when I wanted to be a parent."
My childhood sucked. I was afraid of my aparents and felt lost and alone 99.99% of the time. I’d spend hours upon hours either in my room or outside in the woods by myself, inventing fairytale scenarios that I’d make up in my head. Often they’d involve a dramatic rescue…white horse, damsel in distress, the whole nine yards. My favorite book as a child was “A Little Princess” because for all intents and purposes, I WAS her.
As a mother, I’ve allowed my kids the freedom to be themselves. If that means that my son dresses up like Hannah Montana and prances around the house singing at the top of his lungs, then that’s okay with me. If that means that my daughter dresses in jeans and t-shirts all the time and rolls her eyes at me when it’s time to brush her teeth, then so be it. There are boundaries, of course, but I am bound and determined that my children will NEVER be afraid of me. The hugs and the kisses and the snuggles are given freely and without any fear of a slap across the face in the next moment.
I always make sure to let the kids know that I’m proud of them…that no matter how Maddie sings, or how Chase does on his spelling test, I’m proud. I never quite was able to obtain my aparents’ approval. My asister was the smart one…the one who made it farther with our piano lessons than I did…the one who got accepted into a better college than I did…the one who made straight A’s every time. Now I know that she did all those things to prove to our aparents that she was worthy enough of their love, but maybe a part of me was rebelling against them. And getting a B on my report card, while not really rebel worthy, was the best (or worst) I could do.
While I know that I need to make sure my kids are safe, I will not suffocate them. I know that they need to have their own lives and experience things that I never got to experience. I had to beg…literally beg…to be allowed to go out with my friends in high school. And when I’d get home I’d get the silent treatment for a good day and a half because I surely hadn’t deserved to be allowed to go, but they’d relented and now I was going to pay for it. I just wanted to have a little fun in an otherwise dreary existence…not too much to ask for…and it WON’T be too much for my kids to ask for. Ever.
By the way, this is Chase, dressed up like Hannah Montana...