How To Be a Grown Up

Usually raising three kids is not total chaos anymore. Most of the time I feel like I totally got this. Well maybe not totally, but I no longer feel like I’m drowning.

Then there are the days when I feel like OMG, what the hell am I doing?? I have no idea how to do this, there are just too many of them! I’d like to say they kindly make me a cup of tea and leave me alone on those days. But its more like Lord of the Flies, they sense weakness and seize the day.

Recently I actually found myself thinking, I’m really getting the hang of this parenting thing. My years of training as a juggler has prepared me well! I can juggle three kids, two schools, sports, play rehearsal, girl scouts, taking care of the house, my work and still raise them to be great people- maybe I am super mom! I don’t remember saying it out loud but shortly after that Ian told me that I’m not a super mom. Way to put me in my place kid…

This morning he reminded me that we’re really just living this thing day to day. None of us are super heroes, or super villains. We’re just kids, Mom, Dad- in this crazy life together.

Ian’s in this phase of blaming me for every thing that is wrong in his world. Everything is unfair, I don’t love him, Julia and Will get everything and he gets screwed. Well, that’s how it feels to his 8 year old heart. I know kids are inherently selfish, but my job is to help them work their way out of that. I want them to be compassionate, thoughtful, caring people that can face the world and say to themselves, “I totally got this.”


So here’s how this morning went down…

Julia got me up at 7:30am to make her eggs. Will spent the next 30 minutes telling me everything that was wrong with his world (mainly involving needing the iPad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). I woke Ian up at 8:20 and he wandered the house aimlessly for about 10 minutes. Julia was sick with a cold and asked me about 20 times if she could stay home, while Ian whined simultaneously that he never gets to stay home and I’m mean and unfair. Meanwhile, Will pulled all his clothes down, declaring them all unfit for wear and refusing to get dressed. 8:45 the bus rolled past the house and none of my children were on it. 8:46 Mama swore under her breath and wondered silently what California is like this time of year and how long it would take to drive there.

8:55 and everyone is reluctantly in the car. Ian spent the whole car ride to school expounding on why I was a terrible mother and the source of all his angst. I decided it was an excellent time to explain what becomes of adults who blame all of their problems on everyone else. It didn’t really hit home the way I was hoping…

9:03 and we arrive at school

9:07 Ian is still in the car and has lost the iPad for a week

9:09 we’ve made it to the sidewalk outside of school, theres a lot of crying. My friend witnesses the spectacle and gives me a hug, she goes to make sure no one steals my other children while I duke it out with Ian

9:10 school started and he has lost TV for a week

9:13 we’ve now made it to the doorway outside of class, a small crowd is gathering

9:15 and the teacher has come to the rescue and Ian walks crying into class

11:38 and I still feel upset about it, I’m sure Ian feels the same

I say to them all of the time that life just isn’t fair. Better get used to it! If you spend your life blaming everyone for your problems you’ll never be happy and you’ll never have real friends. A huge part of growing up is taking responsibility for your life, and that means taking responsibility for how you react and deal with difficulties and problems that come up. You have two choices- you can whine and blame people and feel sorry for yourself. Or you can say “this sucks,” and then get up and figure out a solution.

That’s a life secret kid- right there.

Now if any of you have the secret for getting that through to an 8 year old, I am dying to hear it!

I’m learning to stop and be thankful. I also have two choices when things get hard with my kids. I can feel sorry for myself, get mad at my kids and hide in my bed. Or I can be thankful I have these three incredible and complicated little ones in my care (maybe while taking a short nap in my bed…), and then get up and figure out how to help them. I still tend to spend a little time dabbling in option A, but I’m getting better at moving on to option B. And I’m real about that with my kids too. I whine and complain sometimes too- and no one wins then. But I’m trying to stop blaming and whining, and move on to taking responsibility.

So what do you say kid? How about we figure out this whole how to be a grown up thing together?