Me pushing 30, Boy Wonder pushing 2 months
My mind is whriling today. I’m torn between busting an Acorn move (order, orders, orders), pouring new candles because I have an idea, and deep cleaning my pitiful house. It’s appalling. I’m embarrassed and shamed by the grime.
Yet, here I am blogging. I’m the Queen of Procrastination once again.
My Â child is turning 13 in twelve short days so, Â I’ve been thinking a great deal about motherhood — and by extension, the process of blogging about mothering. Although, in lots of respects, most “mommy bloggers” are really blogging about their kids, it’s still a practice (we hope!) of reflection. Â The premise is, you become a parent, your bundle of joy arrives without an instruction manual, and you blog your learning curve as a way of journaling your frustrations, joys, and serving as an all-around precautionary tale to the rest of parenthood.
Plus, your kid is damn cute, and that kind of cuteness should be shared with the world!
Well, that’s how it would have gone down if blogging had been around when I was a brand-new parent. However, by the time I entered the scene, my child was quickly becoming an oppositional 3 year old and I didn’t really want to tell the world too much about his clever attempts at thwarting my authority. I mean, it’s OK to admit you’ve been out-maneuvered by a toddler once in a while—but everyday? I had no intention of becoming Â your favorite train-wreck of a read.
We were also in over our heads learning to parent a child who had different needs than our parenting philosophy met. And that kind of pain, for me at least, was private. So, I seasoned Evidently with bits of my child. Mostly the good bits. Because when you are parenting a child who is Â borderline (our eternal thanks to the firm yet understanding Psychologist who put us on the path to wholeness.) oppositional, it’s important to see parenting as a LONG term process and to focus on the positives and the potential. Progress, not perfection became our family slogan.
I’ve taken some flack for it. Ocassionaly I get a snarky comment (delete, delete, delete) or an angry email suggesting my “boy wonder” is too perfect. All because I choose to see the progress and the potential.
He’s not perfect. But his failings are none-of-your-business. No matter how funny or charming or witty they might seem in retrospect. No one wants their mother to broadcast every point of their growth curve to the world. No matter how funny or charming or witty their mother makes it all sound in the writing.
So, I’ve been very careful about saying too much. Too much good, too much not so good. Because I wouldn’t want to read a blogger who can’t shut up about how great her child is, any more than I’ll read a blogger who is non-stop negative about parenting. And mostly, because there are boundaries to be maintained. Each of us must establish them for our own relationships. Your child might not mind your constant blogging about them. My child, at almost 13, does. And we’ve established the do’s and don’ts of blogging about him. I still write what I write, but I’m respectful of the boundaries he has set for telling his own story. (I can write about the past without censure. The present is off limits for the most part. And always read to him prior to publishing.)
Because ultimately, these are his stories. His life I’m writing. Sure, I’m reflecting about the process of mothering—which is my story. But I am not alone in it! At two Â and three and six and seven, we get, as parents, the ultimate joy of telling our story. But with that joy comes some responsibility. I still read several bloggers who will be paying for therapy in the near future for their sweet cherubs. I bite my tongue, because unsolicited advice is never welcome. But I’ll throw-up a warning flare on this blog: be careful what you write (and say!). The internet is forever, and you may think you have a shoe-in to a forever relationship with your child by simply being their parent. You DO NOT. Trust me on this. Words can be forgiven, but they cannot be unsaid.
Some of you are chronicling, in the most loving and refreshing way, the stories your children will want to hear. My child still loves to hear stories of his past. Even the hard stuff. “I did that? Noooo!” Â Or, “Wow, mom, that was really bratty. I’m sorry.” or “Ha! I was kinda smart at five, right?” Yes, yes you were. Â It’s a worthwhile endeavor, if done with some sense of propriety—although finding the line, and crossing it seems to also be part of the process.
But my child is not two or three, he’s not six or seven. His shoe size and his willingness to reflect on his babyhood with some perspective points to what has quickly become my reality: I am parenting a young man. And with that, comes more challenges, more joy, and probably a lot less of me talking about it in public.
If we’re lucky, he’ll find his voice and tell you all about it on his blog. In the meantime, I’m going to quietly marvel at the progress we are making at establishing an adult relationship. We’re not there yet; but then again, perfection is not our goal.