It would seem the number of posts I can write about the relentlessness of parenthood is infinite. Perhaps because parenthood is infinitely relentless.
And, if you’re spineless like me, you make it infinitely harder on yourself.
This past Friday, I folded like a dang card table when my kid begged me for a one night reprieve from his current grounded status.
Friends, when these kids of ours were mere pups; their dad and I attended countless hours of parenting classes, and I’ve read some books, and have just enough chutzpah to assume I’m intelligent to an average degree. So when I caved on Friday, I was armed with ample knowledge that giving in was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.
Right good fella that he is, my son took it upon himself to prove to me what a bad idea it was by making a series of super shitty decisions within less than 24 hours of my parental judgement lapse. Oh how I’d love to share every sordid detail here, but alas, I’ve likely already said more than I should.
Why, if I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that caving was the wrong move, did I do it? Well, my reasons are plenty; but ultimately they are not reasons. They are excuses:
- Junior’s persuasion and debate skills are well-honed. THIS is the thanks I get for placing my kids in a high achieving school district.
- I was standing on the frigid sidelines of our third soccer game of the week. I was cold, my brain was frozen.
- Chris had been gone all week. I was weary of being a responsible adult.
- He agreed to clean his bathroom and in exchange for leniency. I am a total and complete sucker for a clean bathroom.
- He also made some promises regarding church attendance sans complaining that sounded awfully damn appealing.
Short of it being someone’s dying wish, though, I can think of no good reason for not standing firm. Because there simply wasn’t one.
I dropped the ball, made a mistake, effed up. And ended up looking like a fool.
My attitude about being made a fool? Decidedly not a healthy one. I hate it. I’m embarrassed. I don’t like making mistakes, especially, when I know better. I’m a big believer in others, particularly strangers, deserving some grace; but don’t typically feel I deserve it myself.
This is an issue which is sure to get worse for me before it gets any better, for the consequences of parenting mistakes seem to become more and more significant as the years go by. Fallout from parental lapses, combined with the incompletely developed brains of teens could easily result in a criminal record. Or worse. I can’t even go there. Which is why I need to grow a spine.
My kids are in high school. My days of having meaningful day to day influence on them are numbered. So I’d really, really like to be better, make fewer mistakes, and increase the chances of turning out human beings who can function in the world as good people.
Factoring in my ineptitude and the state of the world, it feels as though the odds are not in my favor. Relentless, I tell you. This gig is relentless.