Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Parenting under the influence

No, no and no, I don't want to discuss parenting whilst drunk.  This isn't that kind of blog.

I'm talking about being sad.  (Because, as you know, this is that kind of blog).   And I don't mean, boo-hoo-I-have- pms-and-that-commercial-with-the-baby-kittens-made-me-snivel kind of sad.  I mean, sad-sad.  Trying-desperately-to-hold-it-together-but-oh-my-god-that-Hedley-song-is-sooooooo-sad-and-now-I'm-crying-and-wiping-away-tears-and-snot-while-driving-in-rush-hour-sad.  (Attractive.  I know.  You totally want me right now.)  

The thing about me is, when I feel stuff, I don't sorta feel it.  I FEEL it.  It takes me over and it rocks me.  It's a full bodied thing, and I've been told it radiates.  You know, kind of intensely.  (Shocking, I know).  So then, other people FEEL it too.  And so, here I am FEELING shit.  But I have these littles.  These beautiful, lovely littles who have no need to experience my FEELING.  And I've been trying so very hard to 'buck up' around them.  I force the smile and pull out the crayons or walk to the park.  I do my very, very best to hold it together and do a good job of it.  But it's exhausting keeping up that front, especially because it doesn't really work very well anyways.  Littles are intuitive little buggers, and some, like my Boy-o, are veritable emotional sponges (sigh, sigh, and sigh, he comes by this so, so honestly.  Sorry about that, sweet little dude).  And besides them being intuitive little beings, the front always slips.  Because, well, fronts are freaking heavy to hold up all day.  Today, at the park, I'm half-watching them play and half in my head, and I don't even realize there's a tear slipping down my face.  Front fail.  Good job, Mamacita.

And so what's a sad mama to do?  It's not like I'm not going to get it together.  I always do (you know, mostly).  Do you sit them down and explain to them the shitty astrological mayhem of the transit of Venus (yes, yes, I know it's pretty).  (And yes, yes, I'm being droll).  Do you tell them the truth, because they probably know anyways?  Do you keep lying and hefting up the front as best you can?  Really, I don't know the answer to this.  I only saw my own mom cry maybe a handful of times as a kid and it scared the living shit right out of me.  Because as a child, she was my touchstone for safety and consistency and through her I knew that all was right with the world.  I would assume my kidlets feel much the same.  And they've already seen me cry much more than a handful of times.  Is this awful?  Am I scarring them? How honest should we be with our kids about this stuff?

Anyways... today, I opted for a truth/lie combo (my one-two parenting punch).  After they busted me being teary, I spoke to being sad with them.  I told them that everyone has sad feelings sometimes, even grown-ups, and that it's normal and okay to feel sad and cry.  Boy-o added sagely: "Yes, or angry!  Or frustrated!  Or happy!"  Well, at least we've raised 'em feelings literate.  I assured them that even though I was feeling sad, it had absolutely nothing at all to do with their perfect and wonderful selves, who bring me great, great joy always.  To this, they both nodded vigourously.  (God-I love these little people so much that sometimes it physically hurts).  And then Boy-o reached his little arms up and wrapped me in a hug.  And Girlio dog piled on top (which actually hurt, but was very, very sweet).  And then asked:  "Mama?  Are you feeling all better now?"  And then, I squeezed down the lump rapidly re-growing in my throat, forced a big smile and lied outright.  "Absolutely.  I feel all better now."

1 comment:

  1. That's very sweet. Having grown up in a non-emotive household, I can say that I'd *much* rather have had a mother who showed that she was sad or angry, rather than having to guess and walk on eggshells all the time. I know that your kids will appreciate your honesty, especially when they're all grown up.

    I'm sorry you're not feeling the best.