Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Kid is Alright

Ok.  That's it.

I'm my mother's daughter, and there is only so much wallowing and crying about something before we say enough, take a sharp turn, and slap things into shape.

Lately, I've wasted too much time on resisting what is.   

Getting divorced is hard.  Watching the changes happen in your child is a lot harder.  I wonder if I am doing the right thing as a parent... that dynamic question goes on and on, and in the face of this major change, I have suffocated myself with doubt and indecision for long enough.  No one knows the answers.  There is no one right way to do things.  And things are not and never will be perfect.  So, I just have to make a decision and go with it, and hope it is a good one, and more than that, have confidence that the decision is good.  I have said before that, over time, self doubt has been my most prominent failure.  What is there to do with self doubt but to decide it away?  

You know what?  Yeah, I have wished that it had just worked for me.  Of course I have.  And I see my friends' family pictures and updates and feel... sad... But you know what?  Pictures are a lot more romantic than real life.  Pictures show a moment, not reality, which is a string of moments that add up to life.  And LIFE is, in this comparative aspect, so different for each of us.  Also, as I think about that feeling I have gotten when I see my friends' pictures, and as I try to put it into words, I find that I can't.  What am I sad about?  At this moment of reflection I'm uplifted, and I'm finding right now as I write this that it's true... when we shine the light of our consciousness on negative feelings, they dissolve. Here I go, and I hope you'll see more than cliche, but I think our consciousness is our essence, that our essence is love, and that love conquers all.

My heart aches so often over Knox; I hear Knox over the phone asking me to come to him at Peter's house, and I don't know what to think or how to feel.  All I can think is that I'm failing him. I get down when I have to do chores and he says, "Mommy, can you play with me?"  And I have to say, "No, baby, I have to make you dinner right now."  But you know what?  Parents have to work, and go to school, and do all sorts of things that keep them from their children.  Some couples have to work opposite day and night jobs to take care of their children and make ends meet.  I could romanticize the pictures, or I could compare myself to others all day and night, but what I should really remember is this:

Do not compare yourself to others, for you may become vain or bitter.   

Desiderata always indicates the right direction, and right now, the right direction is away from comparison.  The right thing to do is to recognize the blessings in Knox's life, and to stop lamenting for all he may have had.  The future holds infinite possibilities despite this moment and the past.  And besides, Knox was born to smart, successful, and loving parents, and those parents are still working together, even from separate homes, to make his environments as healthy and positive as possible.  He's a beautiful child and he'll have as beautiful a future as any of us. 

Part of this aching I've been experiencing and inflicting on myself is caused by my perfectionist tendencies, and that's nobody's fault but mine (and maybe my DNA a little bit).  Again, I just have to make a better decision about how to perceive myself and get on with it.     

You know what else?  I spank.  I don't like it and I don't want to do it, but I read and research and try different tactics and yet sometimes it's the only way to get Knox to understand that it is not ok to run in the bath (child, you are going to kill yourself!!).  It is not ok to spit in my face for any reason (child, I am going to kill you!!).  As a last resort, I do it.  I guess I feel like putting it out there like this is my way of convincing myself that it's ok to do sometimes.  We do what we can, I think.  I reflect.  I ask advice and look around.  I research discipline.  I do my best for my baby boy.  It's time for me to give myself credit for that, and to stop doubting.  

Writing is healing.  This has been good for me.  I'd be really happy to receive comments on this post.  I live in Japan and I'm no longer a stay-home mommy.  My family is far away.  I don't have a moms group for support and advice.  I miss those things a lot, so if you are reading this and maybe could fill some of that void, I'd be grateful.

From Japan,


Nichole said...

I am not a mom but I am a child and having divorced parents sucks but I can't imagine having ever grown up with my parents together - they simply hated each other when I was a child and I understand now that it was the best decision they could have ever made when they decided to separate. I don't fault them for it and I know someday Knox will feel that same way too.

Also, I completely agree that spanking can be necessary and if you feel this guilty about doing it, that means you will never do it too much. You are on the right path girl, give yourself a little pat on the back an cheer up! <3

Megan said...

Here's a hug, and a tazo chai latte with light ice from me to you.
"I feel your pain" - I'm saying that only because it's a saying and I don't exactly know your situation but I do know that sometimes looking at others' pictures causes me to compare and then suddenly feel inadequate, like, I'm not providing this much fun for my family (or for myself, EITHER) and you're so right on the money(ball) (to make another movie reference here) about that.
I read an article sometime ago about how Facebook makes people depressed and I think that is true! Okay, that was a really sweeping generalization from the article but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying.
Sometimes I have to take a social media break because it's too much.
And, I "neglect my kids" a lot just to be able to get things done. Sometimes I think, it shouldn't be like this, but it is, and I don't have live-in family (like a grandparent) or hired help and this is our situation so we deal. It's not bad but sometimes I wish laundry didn't stand in the way of puzzles play doh or just plain fun!
You are doing what you can do and Knox has such an amazing, vibrant loving mommy. He is blessed with you both as parents. Keep loving him, that's the most he could ever ask for!