Lately, a few incidents made me question my parenting choices, and really made me admit (again) that I don’t have my shit together.
This week, Josh brought home his very first report card from school. While I think of my baby as this smart and intelligent little being, his report card was mostly “meet expectations”. That, to me, translated to “average”. Whether that is the correct translation or not, it was an awakening moment for me to see someone else’s perspective of him.
We read books at home with Josh on a daily basis since he was a baby, hoping to cultivate a fun learning environment. But we haven’t done anything to push Josh to read and write on his own beyond the pace given at school.
I keep thinking that I’ve been pushed so hard academically since a young age, that it really took the joy out of learning. Would I be a different person if I had a carefree childhood without going to Kumon math and tutoring sessions everyday of the week? But if I never had all that pressure, would I have done any better or worse with my life?
Yesterday, Josh had his first skiing lesson. I dropped him and his friend off, then went to my own humbling skiing lesson. I went back to pick up Josh and his friend from their lesson 3 hours later. It had snowed heavily the entire 3 hours. I was tired and cold, and I just wanted to get home. Josh said in a whiney voice, “I want pizza.” I said, first, stop whining, and second, no, we have snacks in the car and we’re going home. He bursted into a full on wail.
I was on auto-terrible-mommy-pilot mode. I told him to take a deep breath, and we’re going home. Zero sympathy for the fact that he had a rough time learning to ski, zero love for his red and frozen hands and likely empty stomach. Instead of taking a breath like I asked him to, he cried harder. He continued to cry, with tears running down his red cheeks and snot running down his nose, lips, and down his chin.
In that moment, I felt like I was caught in a dilemma that tested me. On one hand, I wanted to kneel down and give him a big hug and make all the shitty-ness go away. On the other hand, I wanted him to toughen up and suck it up. Learning things can be hard, but that’s just life. I learned to snowboard by spending countless hours on my butt, being cold and miserable. Nothing came easy and nobody coddled me. But is that really how I want my son to feel?
I have no strategies planned out for raising these kids. I just know that I want the world for them, but I don’t want them to feel some of the shitty-ness I felt. So as I sit here, starring at the cursor blink on my screen, trying to figure out what I’m trying to write, I realized all over again that I don’t have my parenting shit together.