I’m here after a long break.
I’ve managed to switch jobs, give birth to another baby, weighed heavier than ever before, seen more grey in my hair, started taking Krav Maga lessons, and still somehow, manage to make it to the end of each day with equal parts being thankful and amazed that I survived another grueling day as a parent.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I went to pick up the almost 2, and the 7 year old from school. I always like it when I pick them up, I’m the hero. I’m greeted with so much love. It’s the best part of my day. 7 talks my ear off about her day and just when I’m ready to strap her in the car, says, “Ma, I scored badly on my Math test”.
The South Indian in me suddenly went into overdrive and asked” well, how bad is it? “. She says I can’t remember, just look at my folder with my answer sheet. I reached and gently (yanked) took out her folder and patiently reached for her answer sheet/test sheet. (Ok, who are we kidding, I rushed and pulled out her sheet and went through everything immediately). Her teachers exact remarks were ” :(., WHAT HAPPENED?”.
Lord, I gritted through the disaster of the paper, tried not to comment, but my expression immediately gave away my disappointment. She said “Amma I’m so sorry, I tried really hard but I just didn’t get it”.
Flashback to 30 odd years ago when I was in first grade and my dad patiently sat down with me through rows and rows of addition and subtraction problems, where I was just not getting it. He used art( drawing pictures of animals and birds), aides like crayons, but I just stared blankly into space thinking about what snack was my mother making in the kitchen and the time the clock struck 4 where all the kids in the neighborhood came out to play. (In my defense I was perpetually hungry, and I loved the outdoors, ok?) Maths was last on my list. That day ended in me not getting a snack nor time outside to play. I remember many days like that, because it just wasn’t happening. The worst of all was comparison. Oh look at “x”, he’s so much better, or look at “y” try to at least be half as good as her, you idiot!
This meme also came to mind:
Asian Career Options
4. Disgrace to the family
You would’ve thought I was completely practical and did not overreact with 7 at all. I’m sorry to disappoint, but it was the complete opposite. I think I can proudly say that yesterday, I turned into my Parents which I never thought would happen. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all. It just happens, without warning. I tried to fight it but no, I went from zero to I don’t think you can ever succeed in life because hey! Subtraction is important stuff. I also compared her to other kids in her class *hangs head in shame*
My mother’s words were ringing in my head ” remember, one day you will have children of your own, and when you are faced with their setbacks, please demonstrate your patience then”. UGH. How annoying! How are they so spot on? I was the last person who I thought would react this way. But here I was using the same tactics, words, phrases, head movements, and the comical expressions. Forget others, I disliked me yesterday.
Our times were different. Everything the kids did would somehow reflect badly on the parents, and in our case even more so because my father was in a different country and my mom had to run the ship herself. She had her reasons. If she hadn’t done what she did, I don’t know what I would’ve been.
Our parents struggled to give us a better life than they had. Somehow, the burden of that better life was also on us. I’m not judging them, I’m merely introspecting. They did what they had to, so what is my strategy here? How to do damage control?
I had to swallow my Ego, my pride, and breathe. Parenting, if you haven’t already heard me saying it a million times will tear your ego/pride to shreds and ground you. Sometimes you drown it in tears, strong coffee, or use another mechanism *cough* wine.
Parenting is a great leveler, and leaves you little choice but acknowledge those faults. We have to understand that despite said flaws we have to rise above them each day to set an example. Some days you are successful and the other days, not so.
We didn’t talk about it after my initial meltdown, even though I kept thinking about where I failed? Did I fail to teach her? I went on generous Guilt trips. Bringing up a dozen excuses for her, for myself.
I also asked my husband to not talk to her after he came back. She was still upset at me. We hung out, ate, and put her to bed.
Today, I tried not to be preachy. I went over her mistakes and we agreed to keep trying to learn and agreed to ask more questions when she doesn’t understand a concept. I caught myself giving her pop-quizzes (I know, I’ll stop, I’m trying). PARENTING IS HARD OK?
Parents, non parents–how have to you dealt with something like this? What has your reaction been? I’m sure we are all trying to do better. I’m sure there is a lesson here somewhere. Comments, notes, suggestions are greatly appreciated! Till next time. Ciao.