Parenting is not for the faint of heart. I ‘hit a wall’ on a regular basis…hard…like, close to concussion, self-induced coma hard. Do you remember the Shrek movie when Shrek tells Donkey that ogres are like onions, with many layers? That is exactly how I would describe parenting. As soon as you feel like you have something figured out, another stinking layer presents itself and you are starting from scratch. Layers and layers…and layers. It really CAN bring you to tears. Between my Facebook, twitter and Pinterest accounts, my visual comparative distortion can drive me to the point of guilt ridden madness. I read parenting magazines and parenting blogs. I see hundreds of pictures a week of smiling children doing smiley things. I stand elbow to elbow with the other shameless photographing parents frantically attempting to get the ‘perfect shot’ panicked by the thought that we may not have enough ‘happy childhood’ documentation to use as back-up when our children decide to blame us for… whatever, take your pick. I overhear the conversations about how so and so’s so and so is sooooo amazing and you should put so and so in touch with them if you ever want your child to be successful. When did parenting become a sport? Did we just decide one day that our children’s lives should be just as fast paced as our society has dictated ours should be? ‘Come on kids, join the exponentially growing rat race’. When is it ever going to be enough?
I came to terms with the fact that my son will blame me for something at some point in his life. I enrolled him in hockey too late, or too early. I drove him to school when he should have taken the bus and now he feels socially awkward. I should have driven him to school so he didn’t have to deal with the distraction of the noisy bus and now he can’t concentrate. If there is one thing that I am sure of it is this, I am not perfect and therefore, will not raise a perfect human. “Hello (stands), my name is Tina and I am a recovering perfectionist”. Whew! Allow the words to just pour from your mouth. There, see? That’s better. Admitting it is a great first step! I am discovering that there is a significant amount of freedom when you decide not to take yourself, and your life too seriously.
I had been thinking about buying a pair of rubber boots for close to a year and a half before I finally broke down and bought a pair. I drive my son to school every Tuesday and Thursday and wouldn’t you know it, thirty percent of the time when I drop him off it rains. By the time I would wade back to the car my socks would be sloshing a tune. I love my new boots but it hasn’t rained once during drop-off since my much thought over purchase.
I was born and raised in Windsor Ontario, and I’m sure other Windsorites would attest, we can get some wicked rain storms. It wasn’t until I moved from Windsor that I realized what a big part of my life these storms had become. When I am away from home I can actually miss them. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was during one of these epic storms. Mom got out the shampoo during a particularly loud and scary torrential downpour, opened the front door, and led both myself and my big sister out into the yard. I remember running and slipping through the rain. I remember bubbles in my eyes. I remember laughing in uncontrollable hysterics. I remember feeling free…free from fear. One single memory. One single rule ‘broken’. Such impact!
I have been making a solid effort to become more spontaneous. To be prepared to be unprepared. To expect the unexpected. To forget the ‘rules’. Last night, tub time began just as it always has. Or had it? Jess had received a squirt gun from a party bag (much to my dismay), snuck it into the tub, filled it, and began to squirt me with the half an ounce of water that it could barely contain. I mean, I had to wash the washroom floors anyway! Instead of getting upset and drying off, I declared at the top of my lungs ‘GAME ON’! Bullets turned into buckets of luke warm bath water flying through the air. Within mere seconds the whole room became sopping wet and I was soaked to the bone. On a school nite! I forgot, for one single moment that I was supposed to be ‘that perfect parent’. Eventually I would succumb to the inevitable surrender. Towel after towel I soaked the tub from the floor and it got me to thinking…I want more! I refuse to become too busy trying to raise a perfect child that I forget that I have a little person bearing witness to every breath I take. I want to throw caution to the wind! I want to make more mistakes and…move on. Tell more jokes and laugh hysterically at myself. I want to eat watermelon off of the good china. I want to open the good bottle of wine, just because. I want to enjoy a slow and unscheduled pace and not feel guilt because I haven’t OVER scheduled our lives. Put on the rubber boots, if you must. Heck, drink the wine out of the boot if that floats your boat. Just don’t forget to have fun! Remember to dance and sing and get silly in the rain. I want my son to bear witness to THAT.