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Parenting leads to temporary insanity
August 9, 4:15 PM Atlanta Single Parenting Examiner Karla M. Somers
While standing in my kitchen one night, uttering words to my three-year-old daughter that I never imagined I’d ever hear myself say, I realized, “I am crazy! Motherhood has made me insane!”
I can’t quite recall exactly what I said that brought me to this epiphany, but right then and there I realized that just about EVERYTHING we explain to our beloved children as they are learning to function as human beings in our homes, schools, and society is LUDICROUS! I mean it’s not crazy that we are trying to raise decent kids, but it is often crazy HOW we go about it.
If you have children, I’m sure you have an idea about that which I write. If you have an intelligent, strong-willed child, then you can relate even more. Yes, I know my daughter is only three, but I find myself engaged in conversations with her explaining things like why it is not OK to hit the dog on the head or purposely step on his foot while he is sleeping just to see him jump up. Or how we have lengthy discussions about why REAL animals can’t talk, why it’s not OK to stuff as may Goldfish crackers in her mouth as she possibly can, why she shouldn’t drink my coffee, or why we don’t touch an old, chewed-up piece of gum stuck to the curb in the Target parking lot. This perfectly illustrates my point of parenting driving us to insanity, and goes something like this:
Me: Antonia! You know better than to touch that yucky piece of gum!
Antonia: It’s OK, Mama, I just want to look at it.
Me (shaking the gum off her fingers): But, IT’S BEEN IN SOMEBODY ELSE’S MOUTH. You will get all those yucky germs all over your hands and then you could get really sick!
Antonia (inspecting her hands): There’s no germs on my hands. See? I don’t see anything.
Me: Germs are INVISIBLE.
Antonia: What’s invis-duh-ble?
Me: It means the germs are there; we just need a microscope to see them.
Antonia: Where is the microscope?
Me: We don’t have one, but I read about it, so I am telling you the germs are there!
Antonia (reaching up to rub her eye with the same hand that just touched the disease-laden gum): Well, I don’t think I got any germs on my hands.
Me (frantic): DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYE WITH THAT HAND!!! Get in the car and don’t move or touch anything until I get the antibacterial soap! Do you hear me?! Hold your hands out in front of you like this (I demonstrate “jazz hands”) and DON’T MOVE.
It is during parenting moments like this that I feel like Chevy Chase in the movie, Vacation. Chevy (as Clark Griswald) finally snaps as a result of everything that has gone wrong in his valiant attempt to drive his family across the country to “Wally World” amusement park to see the beloved mascot, Marty Moose. After uttering profanities and laughing like he is temporarily insane, Clark throws his hands up in the air and says, “I gotta be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose!” His son (played by a very young Anthony Michael Hall) and totally unaware that parenting IS just like temporary insanity at times, calmly says, “Dad, do you want an aspirin or somethin’?”
So moms and dads, when you feel just as crazy as I do, or as Clark Griswald did on his quest to give his children a memorable vacation, don’t despair. It happens to the best of us. I’ve found that laughing at the absurdity of the situation can help alleviate some of the stress that goes along with trying to be a good parent. I’ve also found a book by Foster Cline and Jim Fay called, Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility that seems to help, too.
If you can’t find the humor in a situation, take a deep breath, change your focus of whatever is leading you over the edge of the sanity cliff and take a “time out” for yourself if you need to. And remember – whatever you do, ALWAYS CARRY ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP.
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Jim Bailey says:
Love it – Right-On – Up on;
Equal Parenting @ Ration Shed
Onward – Jim
August 10, 3:41 AM
Great article by a daughter who gave us all those things to worry about when she was three, and now, look at what a beautiful, responsible mother she has become! I couldn’t have loved her any other way.
….. and welcome to the wonderful world of parenting!
August 9, 10:25 PM
Fred Jones says:
I’m laughing…because it’s such a reality.
August 9, 9:46 PM
Amy McCready says:
If you liked “Love & Logic” – I believe you would also like Positive Parenting Solutions online course. It helps parents understand the ROOT cause of misbehaviors and the effective strategies to correct them for the long term!
The Breakthrough Course ONLINE is comprehensive and user-friendly. Parents give it rave reviews.
Here’s to your sanity! 🙂
Founder, Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc.
August 9, 9:22 PM