Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I'm Not A Perfect Mom

When I lived in California I had some so called friends, The Perfects, that thought they were better than everyone.

You know the kind, the ones with the perfect children, no matter what they did wrong.  The ones who think their parenting style is the correct one, and everyone else isn't doing it correctly.  The ones that have no problem telling you that you're doing it wrong.

Yeah I had those friends.  They criticized everything.  Not just parenting styles, but what kind of wife I was.  Looking back now, I honestly don't know why I kept them in my life as long as I did.  I've been free of them for over a year, and I can say I haven't missed them at all.

Taking with a friend I grew up with, I have come to the conclusion that we all have one of those parents in our lives.  Sometimes they are closer than others.

Every parent has a unique parenting style.  Think about it, we all take something from when we were growing up and tweak it to our own style.  My sister and I have totally different parenting styles.  But we also have a few things in common.  Most of those are because of childhood experiences.

There comes a time that we have to be comfortable with our parenting style and not let those perfect parents get in side our heads.

My moment came in August of 2009.  Tin Man was in the hospital at Stanford.  What was supposed to be a doctor appointment turned into 2 weeks in the hospital, him coding (in front of the kids), a new pacemaker, and cardioversion to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm.  We were also informed that he needed a new heart.

I was 12 when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer.  I remember over hearing the adults talking about it, but it was until 2 months later that they finally told us kids what was going on.  And even then we didn't get the truth.  We got the, your dad has lung cancer, the chemo will help him fight it.  What we weren't told was the doctors told them that the chemo was only going to give him a little extra time.  We had questions.  Lots of questions, but they were never answered.  What answers we didn't get, our imaginations filled in the blanks, and as you can imagine, it went to the worst case scenario.

I NEVER wanted to do that to my kids.  I told Tin Man right away that we were going to tell our children about his heart.  We would tell them any bad news.  Of course we would make it age appropriate, but I didn't want to hide anything from him.

So when we were told Tin Man needed a new heart, we sat the kids down and talked to them.  We brought them with us to doctors appointments so they could ask the doctor questions.

Mr Perfect thought this was the worst thing a parent could do.  He told me I needed to lie to my children.  To pretend that their dad wasn't sick, and only getting sicker.  And he even told me to answer with "its none of your business" when they ask questions.

I was mad furious.  How dare someone tell me what I should or shouldn't tell my children.  Tin Man being sick affected all of us.  Not to mention they were old enough to notice that daddy was getting sicker.

After Tin Man died The Perfects did a lot for me and the kids.  I was and will forever be grateful for all they did, but at the same time, I was criticized for the way I handled things.

Mr Perfect jumped on me the day after Tin Man died because I didn't force my kids to go to school.  They were 9 and 13.  Their world just crashed down around them.  They couldn't think straight.  I knew they needed to be with me.  I needed to be with them.

The following day I let them stay home again.  Again I got the horrible mom speech.  This time Mr Perfect even had the guts to tell me, "They are young, if they go to school, they won't think about whats going on and they won't remember it."   Yeah.  My mouth hit the floor too.  I didn't know how to respond to that.

That should have been a major sign that I needed to keep my kids away from him, but I wasn't thinking clearly at that time.  Plus I thought being with him was better than exposing them to making funeral plans.  Tin Man was buried in Southern California, 400 miles from home, so the kids stayed with Mr Perfect while I went to deal with all that.  I wasn't surprised when he forced them to go to school.

After the funeral, I distanced my self from The Perfects.  I needed time to grieve, and I needed time away from the constant criticizing.   It was 2 years after Tin Man died before we moved away from California.

After having to deal with The Perfects, I'm pretty sure I can handle any other perfect family that enters my life.  And from my time with The Perfects, I have learned that I am parenting my children just the way they need it.

My kids are amazing people, and with everything they have gone through, they have come out even stronger, and are using their experience to help others.

I'm pretty sure that says I've done something right along the way.

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