Friday, October 12, 2007

Three Things I Love and Three Things I Hate

Last night was a bad night. I was going to write this entry last night, but it is a good thing I didn't and let time and sleep wash over me and anger was away. I am going to change the scope of this Blogstalking exercise and make it a bit more self-focused.

Three Things I Love About My Parenting

* I am supportive and will do anything to help. Flash cards? In a jiffy! Swim practice? I'm already in the pool! Need a parent for a field trip? I work for a place that prides itself on letting parents do this!

* I have a sense of humour. Kids crack me up - especially when they are trying to be on-the-level and adult with you.

* I am a straight-shooter. You did something wrong? You will apologize and make up for it. I don't want to hear any whining. Get up, dust yourself off and make it better.

And now, and maybe more importantly,

Three Things I Hate About My Parenting

* I am horribly elitist. Not about money - I am not that shallow. Educating yourself - making yourself a better person - Being informed. If you don't care about these things, I would have a hard time caring about you.

* I am quick to anger and disappointment. Quick to joy and praise as well, but those two definitely get over-shadowed in my child's eyes by the first two.

* I am a over-achiever and expect the same of those around me.


It is the last two things on that list that are causing so much strife right now in my home. I am not sure where this drive to be first and a winner every time comes from. My parents always encouraged me to do my best, but there was never an underlying threat of be the best or else. Willow didn't pass her swimming level for the second time and so in a few weeks will be taking the same class for the third time in a row. I am so conflicted by this! I am not faulting her teacher in the slightest - I have been observing the class and know the concrete reasons why she is not moving on. I also know she can do these same damn things in the pool when she and I just go to play! The big thing she can't/won't do in class is swim half the length of the pool
unaided. She will swim for maybe 10 feet and then will cling onto the instructor like a baby monkey. When she and I are in the pool for family swim I always make her swim lengths
for the first 20 minutes before we play and she will swim more than half the length of the pool with no effort. Why not in class!?!?!?

Andrew is much more casual about this. He says she will just keep on taking lessons until she passes this level. I want to scream. I am trying to keep this together. I told Willow I was disappointed and a little angry because I know she can do all these things. She got quiet and said she didn't want to talk to me.

Great. And this is only swimming lessons. What am I going to be like when we start getting real report cards from school?


Bezzie said...

Oh man, I feel your pain!!! I was always (and still am) the damn goody two shoes taht will do anything to please anyone so I know exactly where that "do your best" overdrive comes from.

I could dole out some advice, but it would be hypocritcal since I know I'd react the same way you are!!!

Shan said..., I can't really relate to that problem - mostly I think people should chill out about their kids. I find there's usually a problem underneath the the child is afraid of something that they're also afraid to mention to you. Poor kids.

But man, I get mad. About other things than you, but I get mad and yell and scream and strike terror which in turn makes me feel SO guilty.

*rightly so*

cpurl17 said...

Don't have any great advice but you do sound very self aware.

Mom said...

Your sister did not want to pass out of the 'red' beginner level because she would not have the same teacher......any resemblance?

Lisa said...

I was feeling completely unfit to be a mother yesterday... I was so sleep deprived as my baby was up in the night that I was less than patient with my three year old...

But I understand how you want the best for your kids, you want them to get the sleep they need so they don't get really sick and be hospitalized again... you want them to be assertive but not selfish or lacking in compassion.. you want them to be social but also be able to play independantly and you want them to progress...

I totally understand all that... but I seem to have fits of rage at times and I can't explain where it is coming from and I feel the guilt too...

I wonder why Willow won't do it for her teacher if she can and will do it for you? Maybe it is what your mom suggested..perhaps she likes where she is and is afraid of going to a harder the way, she is only five and swimming half a length is quite the feat for a little girl.. maybe she doesn't like the pressure.. Also, some kids excel at some things and not at others...Lex was so verbal, way ahead of kids her age, but she couldn't jump when the other two year olds were jumping and her running is cute but definately not fast...she wouldn't beat anyone in a race but she is smart and sweet...

I used to race in swimming and I was the worst one...rock bottom...always last in my heat..often last or close to last of everyone in my age group...but I trained all summer and managed to beat someone in my heat of my last race of the season...It was breastroke... I remember we were neck in neck...

I know this is much too long of a comment..

Eryn said...

I've got no pithy comments or advice except take deep breaths. We all get upset with our kids (or dogs, or cats, or SO's) for one thing or another.....

Believe in yourself. You love your kids and they love you.

kemtee said...

This just in:

You are a normal parent and a good mom. So take it easy on yourself.

Education? I don't think we can be elitist enough about it. If that's the correct word. Being anti-ignorance -- especially willful ignorance -- when the opportunities are there for the picking is NOT a bad thing. Nor is it a bad thing to instill a love of learning in your children.

I am also very quick to anger and disappointment. I have a terrifically short fuse and a dangerous temper. It was just the other day that I turned to Hizzoner and asked, "Do we do anything other than yell at her?" I am sure you praise, hug, kiss on and love up your kids as much as you do the other end of the spectrum. The bad things sting more and stick around longer.

The over-achiever… well, it's my firm belief that kids want you to set high goals for them. They really don't want the bar lowered. Realistic goals -- that's the key.

You struck a chord with Willow when you told her how you felt. Shame can be a powerful motivator. Would it help, perhaps, if this came from the instructor? We all know that kids react differently to their teachers than their parents… if the teacher mentioned how disappointed she was that Willow didn't advance, perhaps she might be motivated to swim as she should when she needs to.

Overlong comment as well… as IF I had any real answers for you.