How much is too much to share on a blog?
Damned if I know. I did spend the day feeling moderately sick to my stomach about yesterday’s post. I’ve been sure that my excellent Mom friends read about me losing my cool with disgust and locking my toddler in his room with horror. Someone rightly pointed out to me that I don’t actually have to admit to my parenting failures publicly and write posts where I call my kid swear words. That someday he is going to be old enough to read this stuff and he’ll have feelings about it.
I’ve done a shitload of thinking today. Some serious navel gazing. And here’s what I’ve come up with:
It is effortless for me to write about my self loathing issues. I know it’s not fun to read, but it is a major part of my struggles with mental illness and I own it. I’ve said a million times that the reason I’m doing this blog is to write about taboos, what we don’t tend to talk about in polite company. We all go through hard stuff, isn’t it helpful to address it rather than pretending in doesn’t happen?
The parenting fuck ups are different. I take this motherhood gig seriously. It isn’t about me, it is about providing a good upbringing for my sons. So it is much harder to be forthright about my mistakes. T is not being a dick in a vacuum. 1-2-3 Magic explains that when you are yelling at your kid you are throwing a tantrum yourself. When I first read that I thought, “Oh, that isn’t fair. What about when they are purposely pushing your buttons? Of course you are going to explode in frustration.” But I sat with it for a while and reached the conclusion that the book was 100% right. Sometimes the truth is just really hard to swallow.
I try to be a thoughtful parent, but occasionally I lose sight of my goals and get lost wading through the muck of everyday life. But I don’t believe I’m the only one. I mean, that would be too awful to live with. Even my excellent Mom friends must occasionally fuck up. But as long as we are aware that we are failing and we try to change for the better isn’t it that what matters? And shouldn’t we be talking about the awful stuff? Maybe sharing war stories so we don’t feel so alone? Each kid is different and needs a unique approach, but talking amongst ourselves can only help with ideas, right?
Discussing my failings here feels right as long as I’m striving to do better even if it makes me feel vulnerable. Blogging has become a helpful outlet for me, but it is also terrifying to admit the truth. I feel like I’ll get my “Thoughtful Parent” card revoked for confessing that I suck. I’ve been planning on writing about that damned turned lock since last fall. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because it felt even more loaded than the sleep training. I even started a post about it titled “And I’m Not Even Going To Apologize”, but I didn’t have the balls to finish. You see, we don’t leave him there for extended periods, the room is child proofed, we needed him to stay in his room at bedtime, there is a training potty in there so he doesn’t have accidents. Yes, I am justifying. The thing is, I don’t feel bad about the choice Z and I have made. We simply don’t have the emotional bandwidth to do timeouts with him. C can’t just sit in a bouncy seat anymore (the guilt I feel about him doing just that for his first 5 months while I chased after T is another post entirely). I know what is right for each of my kids. We don’t parent on autopilot, we consider what each boy needs. I don’t believe T will be damaged in any way by our method of discipline. I just feel bad about how others will perceive it. It’s a good exercise, sharing something that scares me. Reminds me not to judge other people’s choices too hastily.
And about T reading this some day…..Right now he isn’t yet three and he’s going through so-typical-it-is-almost-boring developmental bumps in the road. At a certain point I need to respect his privacy, several blogs I follow stopped discussing their kids in detail when they turned 5 and that makes sense to me. They are developing into conscience-having beings at that point. They deserve to lead their childhood in private.
I’m going to screw up being a Mom. I’m also going to try and be brave enough to write about it in the hopes that another Mom might read it and feel less alone or even pass along some advice if she’s been there and done that. I’m going to admit to tough parenting choices we’ve made. We thoughtfully let our kid cry it out. We thoughtfully didn’t let our other kid cry it out. If our son throws a toy taxi at his dad and it hits me instead we are sending him to time out in his room. And if he won’t stay in there we are locking that door. On the other hand, when I make a parenting choice I’m not happy with (losing my cool and yelling at the kid in frustration) I’m going to take a hard look at myself and try to change. And I’m probably going to write about it all of it.