I dropped out of high school even though I was taking college-level classes simply because I refused to participate in gym class. I hated high school so much that I never bothered to apply to college. When I did go, I went to community college and only took classes I was interested in rather than actually attempting to follow some kind of curriculum. I dropped out of college too when I realized someone was going to have to pay for all those classes I enjoyed so much and then managed to throw my student loan into default during what can only be described as "one of my insane periods". This has ruined my chances of going back to school to get a degree so that I can make real money to actually pay back the loan so that I can go back to school to make real money...you get the idea.
And I blame the entire spiral on one person..MY MOTHER.
|My life after about 10th grade.|
(Image thanks to wired.com)
Yes, yes...I know. I am an adult and was when I went to college so how can I blame my mother for decisions I've made since that magical age when I should have been living alone and being responsible for myself?
Well, simple. Her parenting sucked.
And I am reminded of it every time I show up to pick up my kid and she is having a Hershey Bar at 5:00 pm (perfect for an appetizer I suppose) or when she demands that she IS NOT putting her shoes/coat/clothes on to leave because she doesn't have to do what my mother says. I am reminded when Lila comes home and tells me she played with the hose all day in March "because Grandma doesn't like it when I cry". I am reminded of it when I try to explain the concept of "time out" to my mother and she tells me it isn't nice to let Lila cry like that, even for a few minutes and that it "hurts Lila's feelings" when I yell at her.
My mother is a woman of no boundaries and fewer limits. It was her lack of limits that allowed me to have a 17 year old abusive boyfriend when I was 13 and allowed me to skip school and sleep in because everyone knew I could pass the test. It was her lack of limits which was the forerunner of my inability to delay gratification for ANYTHING until I was about 25 years old. And by then it was too late.
She never pushed me to do anything I didn't want to do, assuming that I was a strong kid and I would figure it out and she criticizes the way I refuse to allow Lila to do insane things (like take everything out of the refrigerator to keep her busy for 2 and a half minutes) even though it would "make Lila SOOO happy."
I parent NOTHING like my mother. I set rules and limits. Lila cannot stand up on the dining room table. She cannot act like an animal in Wal-Mart. She will not get Pepsi no matter how much she cries for it and I don't care if she wants a toy. I said no.
I am hoping that with a little guidance and direction, I will succeed where my mother failed me. I want Lila to find a life that suits her but also that is not full of missed opportunities and hurts that were totally unavoidable.
Oh, and I hope to spare her the 10 + years worth of therapy I have accumulated throughout the years.
Inspired by one of Mama Kat's weekly writing prompts:
Not your mother's daughter...how do you parent differently than your mother did? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?