“See, this is why I don’t like telling you and daddy nothing, ’cause it always turns into a lecture.”
This was my daughter’s response after I had fussed at her about an inappropriate picture that she saw on Instagram. It’s something that us parents hate to hear. It’s pretty much telling you that yet again, you’ve fucked up while trying to communicate with your child. As my daughter’s adolescent truth sunk in, I realized that I was missing the point of her sharing her world with me. She wasn’t telling me anything life changing, she was simply trying to chit-chat with me about something that she had seen. And instead of trying to help her process and understand what she had seen, I flipped out. Unfortunately, my intention of showing motherly concern often gets lost in my tendency to act like a high-strung hyena. Once I snapped back from her keeping it way too real with me, I apologized for lecturing her. I mean, I am allowing her to be on Instagram in the first damn place, so why the hell was I tripping on her??
Like I usually do, I over analyzed what my daughter had said and I thought back to some of the things that my own mother didn’t want me to say, do or see. It’s human nature to gravitate toward the forbidden, and as I reminisced on my younger days, I realized that at some point during this journey through motherhood, I had turned into a forgetful Snob. I realized that I was a being a hypocrite by fussing at my daughter for feeding her curiosity. I had forgotten how recklessly ratchet that I used to be—shit, I still am sometimes. As parents, we often get so caught up in protecting and sheltering our children that we forget that they are just soaking up the world like the sponges that they are. They don’t want to be wild and reckless, they’re simply learning how to live and enjoy life.
During my Pre-Brats phase of life, I often made impulsive and dumb decisions. I participated in some straight up shenanigans! Like, the time that I disappeared for several hours after going out with this guy who I had just met. My friends were both pissed and relieved when I finally came back. I used to go clubbing sometimes 3 or 4 times a week and shamelessly shake my ass like I was the paid entertainment. I even once spontaneously went out-of-town and didn’t show back up to work until 3 days later–luckily I kept my job. I used to listen to music that was vulgar, explicit, and misogynistic—I still enjoy this same type of music, but now I’m a mature listener (yea, ok). Being a mother has made me master many skills; one of which being my knack for selectively forgetting parts of my former self. My daughter unknowingly called me to the carpet when she made that statement.
Motherhood lesson #101: You have to own YOUR shit. But along with owning your shit, you have to deal with the guilt, shame and regret that comes with it. This is what sometimes leads us to become forgetful snobs, because we know that our children are our mini-mes. We don’t like the thought of them doing some of the same things that we used to do and some of the stuff that we still do.
Because of my sometimes challenging relationship with my own mother, one of the things that I pride myself on NOT doing is making it so that my daughter doesn’t talk to me. Maybe this is why we have these pseudo power struggles, because at times, I am too relaxed, and other times I’m not relaxed enough. It’s hard as hell to maintain that balance because I’m walking a very thin line. Let’s be clear though, no matter how spoiled and bratty my kids are, they know that, I AM THE MOTHER!! Carrying them and giving birth to them gives me full ass whupping rights!! I will beat—…ok, ok, calm down…*woosaaah*…back to my moment of calm and clarity…
Though I don’t like some of the things to which my daughter is exposed. I have to remember not to blame or judge her for indulging. It’s me and her father’s job to limit her exposure and to educate her about what she sees. It’s also up to me to be transparent and remember that my shit stinks too. I’m not innocent—and I haven’t been for a long ass time. How can we teach our kids to be honest and truthful when we hide behind denial and self-righteousness? How can we teach our children to trust us if we don’t show them that we trust ourselves?
So, from now on I’m going to make a conscious effort not to lecture my daughter. I’m going to try not to go into panic mode about the corruption of her young soul whenever she tells me something that makes my nostrils flare. Though she talks my ear off, I enjoy our conversations and viewing the world through her eyes. And if we want to have a clear view of our kids’ perspectives, we have to be open to what and how they’re telling us.