How It Started
It was Friday afternoon and I was standing at school pick-up, letting my son Landon play while I chatted with another mom. Her second-grade son had climbed way up high in a tree. Several times while we chatted, she looked up and told tell him it was time to come down. But he knew she didn’t mean it yet, because she was still talking to me.
Finally, we were ready to head home. Now, this mom had a conundrum, because her son loved being up in the tree and he had gotten away with ignoring her earlier requests to come down. He was well out of her reach. He had all the control and he knew it. I’m pretty sure he was basking in it.
After requesting, then begging, then commanding, she went to the strategy that lets kids know we are truly desperate: threatening. She said, “If you don’t come down by the count of 10, I’m leaving you here for the weekend.” You would have been proud of me – I didn’t laugh out loud! And, I didn’t tell her that she had just given me a great line for my parenting classes when I’m teaching about how to avoid making hollow threats. Here’s a link to my video about what to do instead of making threats.
The point is, we all say and do some pretty ridiculous* things during the course of raising kids. Fair? If you know me personally, you know that I’m a big believer in being REAL. I wish we all didn’t try so hard to act like we’ve got it all together.
I’m a fan of us parents naming the crazy things we and our kids do. If we don’t name it, we do a disservice to younger parents, because then they think they are alone in the craziness and chaos happening behind their doors. I wish someone would have given the young-mom-version-of-me a peek behind the curtain at how chaotic a family of three little boys could be. I could have relaxed, knowing that the volume and motion in my house were normal.
What We Learn from Here
When we hide our ridiculousness, we also disserve ourselves because there’s often shame behind what we hide. How interesting that it’s Pride Month as I write this. One of the things Pride Month means to me is honoring and celebrating people having the courage to be true to who they are and who they love. There is freedom and beauty in claiming the truth of who we are.
How about if we all take the challenge and share, with a person and in a way that is safe for us, something about us that we keep hidden? It might be little, like making a ridiculous threat to leave a kid in a parking lot all weekend, or it might be more meaningful. Things I’ve kept tucked away are how stormy I’ve been capable of being with my kids, complete with yelling and door-slamming.
And I’d be embarrassed if you knew how ridiculous I can be, trying to keep up with my boys when it comes to loud body sounds. You might also be surprised at how much I can doubt myself. The truth is, I am soft and I am loud, sophisticated and crude, confident and timid. I don’t fit in a box, and neither do you. Your partner doesn’t, and your kids don’t. None of us do.
Join Us in this Wonderful Journey
Please join me in honoring all of who our kids are… no boxes to fit into, no labels to wear. Just them. Unique, individual, lovable them. When we can love all of who they are, they have a better chance of honoring all of who they are. And why stop with our kids? Let’s just honor the truth that no one fits into a box and we can all be rather ridiculous.