Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What Could I Do ?


So I've come to the conclusion that I am not a good parent. It has come on slowly but gradually and I've come to accept it. I don't mean I beat my kids. I don't mean I neglect them but I see now what I could be doing and am disappointed to discover that I have not. I do not have it in me to play games, to listen endlessly to odd stories, etc. Lucky me: that is one of the characteristics my father has passed on to me. I love spending time with my kids but I need to be interested to enjoy it. I hate sitting around. I hate building lego's. I love taking my kids to the movies. I love taking them to museums. I love taking them to the theatre. I love taking them to the library. I love watching movies with them. But it's all on my terms which is sad. I do alot with my kids but if I don't want to do it, I don't which is also sad. I am not one of those self-sacrificing moms who will give up all of her time and energy to endlessly amuse her kids. I just can't. And this is biting me in the ass huge.

My kids have very good imaginations. They play well together. They are relatively computer savvy. They are learning to read, etc. but I'm not sure how much of that is to do with me. I look back now and realize the amount of time that I have wasted not drilling them about school work. How much time I have wasted not practicing math facts and reading out loud and everything else a good parent should do. I did read to them at night but listening to them read is like needles in my eyes. Homework is like torture because I don't understand why they can't get it and I don't know how to help them do that. This is my big failing as a parent - no patience. Yeesh.

My son cannot play board games. He gets frustrated, bored, jumpy, etc. It drives me nuts. But again, part of that is my fault. I have relied too much on TV for a distraction. I tell myself it's a treat for them. I carefully screen what they watch and expose them to Discovery channel, Learning Channel, etc. but still it's not for them, it's for me. It's for the lazy parent in me that needs a break after working all day, that needs a break from cleaning, etc. It's an easy out which again is biting me in the ass. As a result, he has developed no patience. He has not developed good skills at sticking with something which doesn't interest him. Part might be who he is given his mother's disposition but I wonder if I could have done more to build up those skills. I like to blame his Aspergers to exonerate myself but that is a cop out as well.

I need to start looking for other ways to have a break. I don't want to look back in 10 years and realize that while I recognized the problem, I didn't do anything about it. I have made changes but certainly none which have stuck as well as I would have liked. I have cut back TV for my kids but on rainy days we are stuck. It struck me this weekend. We are tight on money and couldn't really go anywhere. I could not bring myself to amuse my kids. I had to cook and clean and whatever else mom's do to get ready for Thanksgiving. I thought, heck, I'm doing all this and you want me to amuse you too ? Sheesh. What an idiot I am.

My kids still want to spend time with me. They still want to share their dreams and show me their accomplishments. They still want to go out with me and be seen in public. So in light of that, maybe I haven't done too bad a job. I've obviously somehow established a fairly decent relationship with them. They come to me with questions and ask me to help them. But do I help them emough ? I bark and I bite and I growl. I shush and I shoo. Help is on my schedule and kids don't work that way.

What could I do ? Well I could start by opening my mind and keeping it open. I could start by remembering that there will be a when they won't want me to help them but I will want to help. I could start by remembering that I will be running after them to spend time with them soon and they won't want to anymore. I could start by remembering that one day they won't have any more questions for me but I will have answers that I want to share. I could start by accepting the fact that my son does things differently and to stop placing unrealistic expectations upon him.

What could I do ? I could accept the fact that he won't be what I expected him to be and to stop blaming him for that. I could accept the fact that I need to find a way to relate to my son and my daughter before they won't care if I do or don't. I could accept the fact that I need to keep trying to be a better parent and not be so hard on myself when I mess up.

What could I do ? Love myself as much as I love my kids. Remember that saying I love you doesn't mean as much as showing that love every day. Find ways to have fun with my kids that don't involve a screen. Have realistic expectations on all of us and follow through on ways to improve my parenting.

What could I do ? See the chance to change and take it. I don't want to let life go by and keep missing it. I have two valuable, loving kids who think I am great. Maybe I should start deserving that opinion it a little more.

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