Rebecca D Rodriguez »

Food. Just that one word inspires so many thoughts, cravings, memories, and even, feelings! I’m obviously starving to death as I write this. But food has, like most of us, that sibling who comes around every so often and makes things complicated… cooking! I love to cook, you say. Good for you, man. I envy you, it’s true. But it’s also true that I envy the people, especially the moms who don’t have to cook. I mean, gosh, you rebels! It’s your role, they shout from the street, pitchforks in hand. What kind of woman and mother are you they say as they light the Molotov cocktail. (Mmm, a cocktail.) But I envy you. I mean, your humans are obviously getting fed if they’re still alive and functioning, so I say good job to you for figuring out a way to do that without being the sole progenitor of all things consumed! I don’t really want to cook much at all these days. Okay, well let’s back up for a minute before you start judging me so hard. I’ll tell you a quick story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who just ate whatever was fed to her. She wasn’t very picky at all, she ate anything her mama made her, and anything from any restaurant that daddy took her to. She never had any real negative associations with food, except for maybe that one time she found a worm in her McDonald’s breakfast, or that one time her evil 1st grade teacher made her take her “wasted lunch” out of the trash. I’ll eat this shit over my dead body, her 6 year old heart whispered. So this girl, by the time she’s in 5th grade her parents are divorced, she’s doing the usual mom’s homemade dinner most nights, and the usual single dad’s dinner other times. Jr High comes, by this time the girl can cook a few simple things for herself, her specialty is homemade Mexican rice with two cans of tomato sauce (imagine the sodium intake!).  Time passes, high school comes, said girl moves in with dad for a while. Dad works a lot, but the girl is never going hungry or anything. Typical after school fare consists of cans of pork n’ beans, macaroni, canned ravioli, delicacies like that, you get the picture. Dad mostly let’s her eat whatever she wants, no guilt attached, plus this girl is skinny as a rail, she doesn’t even think of weight or any of those earthly curses that seem to join us for dinner more often that they’re invited these days. The highlight of this all, is that for breakfast, just so she would eat (she still has picky breakfast issues), she was taken through the drive thru of Taco Bell every day for two crunchy tacos and a Dr Pepper. Every morning, for probably months on end.  Talk about the breakfast of champs, man! No wonder she had acne right? But I mean, this is what she wanted. She doesn’t blame or judge her dad, I promise. A girl’s gotta eat, right? No way she was having cereal, or eggs more than once a week, or any of that peasant food. She can still taste the crunchy shell, with the savory meat filling, cheese and cool lettuce all washed down with a big swig of chilled corn syrup. (I might get that this weekend when I have the munchies, to be honest.) Anyway, this was typical for her. She does still remember going home to mom’s house and finding like real, gourmet, original, ethnic-inspired dishes from all over the world. When she chose to go home. The only thing she really passed on was lamb, but today she’d devour one, much to Mary’s dismay, to be sure. Then she has “the missing years”  from her, uh, rebel phase, when God knows what she ate. So now, let’s fast forward to this girl, theoretically growing up. She learns to cook a little more, she’s just getting out of high school and can cook up some pretty good Mexican dishes, and a handful of techniques her mom taught her, which the most valuable was how to just throw some basic ingredients together to make a pretty good meal. She meets a boy, she starts cooking for him, he takes the bait, they do their version of getting married, live together and the cooking is still in its experimental phase, but it’s basically a partnership and some progress is being made. I mean no one dies, no one complains, but there’s no kid to cloud it up and they just cook, eat, take out, enjoying food as they see fit. They’re not together all the time, half the time she’s just on her own, feeding herself whatever. Who knows what she ate, really. Then later, a kid comes and this girl is now actually not only reading but seeking out recipes! I mean this is some serious stuff folks. She tries a new Kraft Kitchen inspired recipe at least twice a week (casserole anyone?), she watches the food channel every day, picks up magazines, even library books on cooking. There was only one actual total fail, when she tried to take down her mom’s chicken mole recipe over the phone and it was seriously inedible. Like a floury, pasty nastiness. She wasn’t embarrassed, it was just too gross to be embarrassed. So, girl is cooking up a storm, she’s enthused.. sitting down and creating/printing fancy sounding weekly menus with sophisticated font choices and words like haricot verts, aioli, and garlic-infused. She’s doing it! Fast forward 13 years later, and surprise, we’re talking about me. Now, 13 years later: so many people have cried over the food choices I make, the meals I stand around the kitchen for hours making. I mean they’re polite enough, no one really has overused the word “Gross”, I’ve egotistically given them appropriate substitute phrases like “I don’t feel like eating this today”. I mean, I can’t win though, are we surprised? Feeding 7 of us, at least 3 are what I would diagnose as “clinically picky” one of them being an adult who despite having a mother like mine who made lots of homemade food over his childhood, pretty much seemed to only eat white rice and chicken when we started dating. Plus chipotle and McDonald’s. I mean, I could go on and on about what these people have done to my culinary spirits. I used to just cook myself what I wanted and if they ate it they ate it, there was always something else around. And then it got to the point where I was feeding too many people too many different choices on one night. I can’t seem to get portions right. Some days I make enough to feed two families, and other days I’m scraping the bottom of the pan chasing that “I hate myself for eating so much feeling” some of us have grown accustomed to. Today, as it stands, I have to admit we eat out more than I think we should. Like I’m sure if my sweet aunts or mother-in-law or the pediatrician or Oprah knew, I would possibly disappoint  them. I mean you do the math folks! 7 people, 3 meals, plus snacks… plus grocery trips, plus kitchen cleaning, plus the fact that half the people won’t eat what I make. I mean don’t get me wrong, I cook! Okay, I cook. And I have one baby who says mom you make the best everything, even when it’s just plain pasta and some fruit on the side. And I have two babies who will try anything I make and usually like it and they’re older so they’ll always remember mama really did cook for them! I sound desperate, I know. I just hate cooking right now. Plain truth. Once a day I can work with, other than that I have to hand it off to the girls or something. Yesterday I actually heard another lady say that her husband has just taken over the cooking! I’m like, whaaat? Woah. What’s a gal gotta do to make that happen? Be married to someone who can cook? Lovemaking on demand? Contribute to the family finances? At least two of those have no hope here. I mean, lesbehonest, I have to admit that I’ve thought more than once about getting a job just so I don’t have to be the only one responsible for cooking and making the food choices for so many people. Some people can’t even make the choice for themselves, or just two people. I’m drowning here.

I could go on and on, but I promised you a quick story. The biggest takeaway from all this is that I have outed myself, I have stopped the charade, myth busted what I’m sure some imagined to be my domestic near-perfection. What? You don’t think about me? Well if you did, it’s possible you’d think I was one of those people who still had the mental fortitude to enjoy something as simple and essential as cooking. Maybe it’s just a phase. Like I said, it’s been over 13 years of cooking for a family of various shapes and sizes. Maybe I’ll get my groove back, maybe they’ll join me in feeding each other. Maybe they’ll get a pantry full of pork n beans.

A little while ago I texted my husband a nice little text that read, “hungry”. To which he replied, “a little”.  To which I replied, “Oh I’m sorry, it was more of a statement”.

He came home from work empty handed. I had dreams of taco truck breakfast burritos. I’m too lazy to get dressed to go, so I guess it’s some microwaveable veggie sausage and eggs for me. I’m not desperate enough for Taco Bell, yet.

What about you guys? It’s okay if you love cooking, or if you don’t have to cook, I won’t be mad at you. Jealous maybe but I won’t hate you. Maybe you have some words of wisdom. I’m always open to helpful tips, but if it’s about prepping food ahead of time you lost me there. Tried it, no one ate the defrosted freezer meals. Can’t say I blame them… but yeah. I’m so hungry right now.

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I’ve often thought to myself that if I had to read another article on “Mommy Guilt” then I’d punch myself in the face. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever gotten through an entire article on the matter. Why? The topic makes me uncomfortable. Guilt is just following us (any human being) all around, watching our every action or inaction, occasionally tapping us on the shoulder, eventually requiring us to look back at its judging face , with it’s smug, lips pursed, eyebrow raised sort of way. Sometimes it seems to plan ahead, and we might find ourselves booby-trapped and getting tangled in some trip-wire made from the tangled web of life we have woven. Sometimes I imagine guilt to embody various real-life people, other times it’s the Monopoly Guy from Ace Ventura 2, talking shit to me from behind his stupid monocle.  Then we have those little voices in our head that try to convince us we shouldn’t be feeling anything other than “blessed” because we “don’t have it that bad”.

Case in point: As I write this, I get a popup notification from CNN that Trump tweets that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military. Reflexively, I roll my eyes, because, well, Trump. Instinctively, my heart quivers, because I think, man, this group of people… it all boils down to imagining what this group, like so many before them, so many others going through it now, and who ever happens to be the next group…their country is basically against them. Not the whole country, but when the person who I’m pretty sure believes by virtue of self-proclamation is the Greatest and Most Important Person (MAN) on the planet, when he’s against you, you’ve got to admit the odds are stacked pretty high against you. At least for now. I can’t imagine looking back, feeling guilty about who I am and what I’ve chosen, and instead of just seeing the confused or scared, or angry voices of family, friends, and society, I had to see Trumps face… that smug face, or hear his voice, judging me and my worthiness. “You’re a yuuuuge disapointment, Rebecca. Yuuuge.”

That was an important and necessary digression. The whole point of this was to say that I’ve got the same voices you’ve got, telling me that what I go through in my life isn’t as bad as others have it. I’ve also got the same voice that is telling me every little thing I do wrong or fail at. Not everyone who ever reads this or any essay/article/post on guilt is a mother, that’s just my struggle de jour. (mmm, that sounds good, I’ll have that). But I’m sure you’ve got your own. You’ve got to. Parent guilt, spouse guilt, child guilt, sibling guilt, friend guilt, human guilt. I think if I say the word guilt again, I might punch myself in the face.

So I try to keep my perspective well-adjusted. That is the method I use on my kids when they’ve got issues beating their hearts and minds to tears or anger. Keep things in perspective, I say. I don’t want to be that voice in their head or the smug face judging them either though, so I say cry, it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling and just cry it out. Instead of JUST saying don’t be sad, you’ve got it pretty good, no one is dying, you’re not in crisis when plotted on a chart of all possible human experience and emotion… but go ahead and feel… hey, if I just made myself sound like a great mother, (oh, you didn’t catch that?) I don’t even deserve that right now. Because the whole reason for what I’m writing, is that I suck! I’ve been so ugly lately! Motherhood  is pretty damn hard for me sometimes. What does that mean?? It means most days I feel like I’m wearing a shirt made of buttons, not the claspy kind, but the pushy kind… and my kids and potentially anyone else are just walking around seeing how many they can push before I snap. It means me closing my eyes and giving my children the all-too-familiar alert of “ok, I’m pretty close to a nervous breakdown” kind of warning. It means I cry more than I’d like to, especially because the salty tears dry out my eyelash extensions like nobody’s business! I don’t want crispy eyelashes! I don’t want a nervous breakdown! I don’t want my buttons pushed from the time someone wakes me up and technically all through the night, because apparently I’m also covered in magnets and people are just always STUCK to me. whew. Ok, well what do I want? I want to be able to talk about it openly and honestly without anyone’s feelings being hurt. I want to not feel like a horrible mother or wife, or a failure just because this shit doesn’t come easy. (I don’t for a minute believe it comes easy to anyone). I want peace more often than pent up frustration. I want solitude when I need it. I want to be less snappy, and less ugly as all this stuff spills out of me as I go through my day.

I’m throwing up my hands a bit here, peeps. I don’t want to dwell on feeling guilty for feeeeeeling. I don’t want to feel guilty for not-feeling guilty! I’ll just take a page out of the book of criminals everywhere and plead no contest. Nolo Contendere.

My husband just got home from work. I’m gonna go make some coffee, something to eat… and see how long I can dodge the monopoly guy.

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Lately I’ve been thinking about writing fiction. I have a growing journal full of ideas, notes on setting, character sketches, research topics, potential plot points, and even a little bit of crafted prose for good measure. My ideas come and they grow on their own this time, much more than before, because this time I promise myself that I won’t push them back down. I won’t make excuses, I won’t see everyones problems and needs and joys as greater than my own.

So lately I’ve been thinking that the greatest fiction I could create would be the fiction that my life is easy, that my life isn’t touched by pain, struggle, doubt, insecurities, and shortcomings. Although, I’m pretty sure my shortcomings need the last amount of attention, as I’m sure they’re painfully obvious to the casual observer. But wait…this isn’t meant to be a sad story, don’t get uncomfortable. It is just meant to be an honest story, and as it so often goes in this day and age, why wouldn’t the internet be the perfect place to unload? Ha. But for real, my circle is small. Unless I was handing out fliers for a support group in front of Winco, or holding secret meetings in the back of the library, I’d have no way, no means, no potential audience with which to connect. I mean, I’m not living a life of solitude, but let’s just say my circle pretty much involves people related to me by blood, plus 2. While I love these people and they love me, I need more. Felt harsh saying that. But I remind myself that I’m entitled to be multi-dimensional. Part of the reason my circle is so small is because I’ve crafted it to be that way. If I’m only a mother, and only a wife then the only people who will possibly care about what I’ve got to say, will probably be my children and my husband. And that’s a big PROBABLY. Just like half the time I don’t put too much reflective thought into what they tell me. “Oh? Another Minecraft potion recipe? That’s nice, dear”. “Oh, you want to make love for the 2nd time in two days? That’s nice, dear.” The last one was my husband in case you couldn’t tell. Anyway, all this to say that I’m giving myself room for expression, honesty, growth… what I should have been doing all along (“no REGERTS”, Rebecca, just focus on the present. Yes I spelled it like that on purpose). I can’t sit here just caring about what someone will say or feel every time I have something to say or feel. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings of course, but if I can’t share, and let’s just say I eventually do end up dying in a plane crash or a shark attack, and my daughters end up growing up to be, oh, I don’t know,  PEOPLE, WOMEN, CREATIVES, GOOD or BAD MOTHERS, MEDIOCRE WIVES, FRIENDS, UNWORTHY DAUGHTERS… you know, the good and/or the bad- what will I have really taught them about LIFE? If they don’t know my struggles, my regrets, my fears, joys, wishes, bad days, good days, and all that jazz, have I really tried to teach them as best I can? Fuck algebra. This is some LifeTruth101. Free to register. Pass/Fail. Audit-only Available.

And I know you’re out there. I know my circle can be widened with the presence of other people, who are like me. Let’s get together. I mean, let’s take it slow at first, I’m not much of a socializer, but let’s talk. Let’s share, let’s grow, lesbehonest.

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Dearest Child,

 

I write to you with fond birthday greetings. I have a quick story to tell, if you’ve got the time. It isn’t so much a story, as it is a quick history of our meeting and a considerable time thereafter. Not to worry, it isn’t one of the polka-dot princess stories I used to create on the fly at bedtime, as I anxiously awaited for your departure to dreamland, no, this is more of an honest history through the eyes of the victor, if ever one was able to be told. Like any good and well-developed story, this one has at least quasi-remarkable characters. Let’s meet them, shall we? There’s a troubled character on the verge of what was sure to be a reality-shattering encounter with self-destruction, a catalytic drunken sailor, whom, for our benefit, was only drunken on the weekends like most responsible sailors his age, and then there was you, my dear daughter. A wild, free-spirited, fire-cracker since day one; you were what experts in the field of child development would call a strong-willed child. You are still very much all of these things.

The setting of the story begins in a small version of my own personal hell that we still occupy. Back then, it was the only part of the world I really knew. I didn’t know it was so big and wide and full of wonder. And I didn’t know it was all there for me if I wanted it, waiting, teeming with possibility and chance. It was probably calling to me, but it’s voice couldn’t be heard clearly. I daresay it was muffled through the aforementioned self-destruction. You see, I wore it like a cloak. But unlike our favorite wizard, instead of rendering me invisible to the outside world, it had the opposite effect. I couldn’t see anything outside of myself.

As most stories go, something happened that changed my fate forever, and let us say an Amen under our breaths as we acknowledge it. amen. I met a boy. Well, a man, as much as a man can occupy the body of a 21 year old. We met by random bad acquaintances, had a night to remember, and the rest was history. Now you’re probably like most readers, wondering why I would mention something so personal as a night to remember, but it was devoid of romance, not to worry. Yes we exchanged flirtations and information, but the night was disastrous, full of young men with terrible egos, fueled by alcohol, the combination for a host of horrors in any story. Lucky for this sailor that I wasn’t averse to disaster. I had my own recipe, of course.

In an effort to propel the story forward, let’s suffice it to say that we tethered onto each other. Our private conversations, as you can surely recall, dearest child, have relayed to you the finer details of courtship and eventual marriage. Not quite the love story you imagine for yourself, undoubtedly, but it was my love story, nonetheless. Lucky for you and I, that drunken sailor had self- respect and demanded I part ways with my destructive ways. At the risk of gaining something I longed for, namely, a way to change my life, I bowed to his ultimatum and the new me was starting to emerge.

Because of the elusive nature of my newly categorized nemesis, otherwise known hereafter as Time, after 3 months of getting to know each other, and then after a year of what one would call marriage (as much as a 19 year old version of myself could make of it anyway), I discovered something about myself that I had not considered outside of a late-night conversation about having children one day. I was with child. And this is where you, the true heroine of the story enters the picture.

To explain the change I underwent, in both form and function, could be a chapter in one of my future books, to be sure. Let me just say that my whole life changed, in many ways, but it was my nature, my very nature of being and thinking and feeling, which underwent the greatest transformation. This isn’t unique to me, I know to be true, but it also isn’t a given in the relatively wide gamut of assumed motherhood.

The rebel girl who fought against all aspects of control, who flirted with danger, who would make this rational, careful, moderately calculated version of my adult self panic, and weep with sorrow and confusion if she were my daughter, well, she disappeared. Yes, she disappeared as much as any driving part of our personality and character can. Well, if I’m honest, that scared little girl is probably still inside me somewhere, but she has been safely tucked away since. How this all happened I’ll never really know. It could have been the prayers of my mother as she lay in her bed at night, mentally ruminating over the current state of each of her 3 children, it could have been my father’s voice of desperate and pleading reason finally echoing back into my heart once the self-destruction had a different focus for a while, or it could have been my love story, albeit not the most wonderful love story you ever heard, but a love story nonetheless.   

You see, by the time you came along, I had a pretty solid experiment going. Dipping my toes into the pool of normalcy, of healthy living, of less spending my time in neighborhoods my parents worked so hard to stay out of. And once you were here, dear baby, I knew I was never going back.

When I pretended to be a college student, I learned that if literature can tell us something by first reading it, a second analysis could further reveal deeper meaning, usually even if the author didn’t initially intend for this to be so. In this story, for example, up until very recently on the page, I was the main character. As it goes with anyone’s life, the drunken sailor, the universal praying mother, and the role of Jiminy Cricket as played by my father, these were really just supporting roles in the story of Me. That is, until there was you.

The interesting thing about women in our society and culture, and I’m sure in others that I don’t really understand, is a lot of us feel very strongly about being complete and whole people. Seems like it should be a given, right? That we are more than our genitals, our stereotypes, and our gender roles. Due to the checkered nature of human history, our assertion that we are more than our child-bearing function has been a momentous movement in the evolution of our species. I do not negate this, I would dare not devalue or diminish any of it. You have learned some of this already, to be sure, and you will figure out your own place and your own purposes. You get to choose which self-experiments you want to attempt, and which of those you’re not interested in. Perhaps you decide against motherhood, or don’t get to choose it in its organic form, that is okay, too. You are still you.

This digression was worthy, but we must carry on.

Again, as with the cloak of invisibility, I found myself being affected by a phenomenon, in a backwards way. Instead of the life growing only in my belly, the spirit of my being was being brought to life. A girl who knew nothing of motherhood beyond domestic rituals such as hair brushing, and bedtime stories, began to become a mother herself. Suddenly, I was aware of the dangers of environmental toxins and the importance of prenatal care. I discovered breastfeeding, out of a book. I had never even witnessed another human feeding a child from their body up to this point, and now here I was, realizing what my own breasts were for. No, they weren’t meant for the torment and embarrassment they brought me growing up, they were meant to give life! To sustain the energy and growth of an actual living baby! It was all instinctual for me, nursing, baby-wearing, the oft-criticized attachment parenting, all of it. It was just what I did and who I was.

These things changed me, in the sense that I was now able to really see beyond myself. Love for my parents, and my foray into romantic love, had only occasionally and briefly allowed me to experience what that might feel like, but now it was my modus operandi. I was a changed woman. Even though I still felt like a girl then, and for more years after than I’d like to admit. Another chapter in my future book, could surely be filled with the descriptions of awe and ramblings on the depths of love that I experienced when I became your mother. I have known no greater joy in this life and this world, and I bet my soul that no matter where my journey takes me, to sights unseen or otherwise, that there is no greater experience that I could hope for.

As you know, I’ve had this fabric of my character woven many times over since you, with the birth of your sisters. With 5 of you, have I any other way of seeing the world for the years that Time has scheduled me to diligently mother you children? I know someday you will not all need me with the intensity and ferocity of growing humans, and I am okay with that, when Time dictates. But as my story continues, I am in the thick of it. Consider that, when you judge my motives and my actions, dear daughter.   

On the morning of your 13th birthday, when symbolically, you enter a new world of teenage-hood, I realize that my shortcomings as your supporting character are free-range for your critique and that ultimately, you, not I, get to decide if I was a good-enough mother to you. No matter the blood, sweat, and tears I have put in, as the story goes, but all that will matter to you is if you felt loved, considered, respected, trusted, and free to be yourself. And I want to promise that I will always give you that, at least as often as I safely can, with my whole heart.

So that is the promise I make for you today, and as you can see the letters in the word, P R O M I S E and how it safely lives in the larger word  C O M P R O M I S E, I hope you can remember this story I have told you. I hope you can remember that our own personal stories don’t exist in isolation, even if we conveniently convince ourselves of such. I had parents, and although we didn’t have the sort of proximal and temporal closeness that you and I have shared for your 13 years thus far, they had their own stories, which influenced mine. I honor that now, somewhat regrettably, years later. So again, I ask that you not forget what I have shared with you today. When you feel anxious, trapped, and full of the inevitable teen angst that is sure to intensify in the coming years, remember that your story includes me, in fact it started with me, and that as long as you and I can C O M P R O M I S E, the leading characters in BOTH of our stories are sure to have as close to happy endings as we could hope for.

Happy 13th birthday, dear teenager. You will forever be a part of my being.

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  • Rebecca - Wow …. you are a incredible writer rebecca…. I loved every line :… happy birthday to your beautiful daughter 🎈ReplyCancel

One thing that I find very interesting is the way people in our society approach teenagers. Some of us think that because we’ve been one, that simple fact qualifies us as experts. Or because we saw what our parents did and perhaps some of it worked, that it makes sense to repeat those same methods of parenting. Does it really though? Certainly we didn’t understand what was going on all the time in our teenage minds as we lived through it. And even looking back now, do we really know what motivated all our actions and choices, or what was best for our younger selves? As for the latter part of that question, we might. I think of my young teen self, and I definitely can think of a few things that could have improved my life and perhaps led me down a different path. But that sort of retrospective thinking serves the purpose of trying to avoid mistakes that were present in my life, as well as a bit of self-understanding for the way I live and think today.

Back to the main idea of our approach to teenagers. Whole books are written by experts who study brain chemistry, psychology, and everything in between. While the information might differ or apply to people in different ways, one thing rings true: teenage-hood demands and requires a specialized area of thought and study.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really willing to wing it. Granted, in some aspect we are forced to just do our best, use our intuition about safety issues and boundaries, but I truly believe that we as parents and families, can benefit from putting more thoughtful practice into how we approach parenting our teens.

When we become new parents, it requires so much adjustment! So much research, whether it is an actual google search to figure out what, how, and when to feed, clean, and teach our babies, or a traditional approach of learning from those who came before us in a more direct way, asking family members or friends we trust. We learn and grow through these stages with our young children. Each stage requires us to grow as people, to stretch and adapt OURSELVES. Why do we think the stage of teenage-hood should be any different? Am I suddenly an expert on how to guide and care for humans because my child is now mostly self-sufficient? I think this is an obvious HELL NO. If anything, our children grow along with us, to be MORE complex, MORE self- aware, and MORE focused on their one underlying goal of childhood and life…. which is to BECOME WHO THEY ARE.

This is hard for some of us to see clearly. They are not meant, as human beings, to become who we want or think they should be. They are the ones in control of themselves, in varying degrees, and decide how to turn out. Yes, we should thoughtfully approach the ways in which we create their environments, the ways in which we teach healthy interactions, as well as model the values we hope to pass on. These are all active movements that we must make as parents. We shouldn’t just worry about the values they take on and make a part of their being. We should do our best to be our best selves and hope they catch on. You can’t lecture someone into being grateful, or patient, or respectful. You have to model what those qualities are and appreciate them when you see them coming from your child and others.

Of course, this is sometimes a balancing act. The “parents know best” saying exists for a reason, because oftentimes, due to life experiences, more advanced logic, and simple knowledge does, in fact, mean we know best. But, not considering that children and especially teens, can figure some of these things out for themselves in their own way would be a disservice to them. The balancing act comes into play when we take a step back, relinquish that control we hold on to so tightly, and give a little bit more life and credit to the adolescents we are raising.

To be continued as I continue to raise my teen….

 

 

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