Forgive Us Our Parental Sins
One mom confesseswhen you do the things you vowed you'd never do
And then we actually have children and the jig is up. Here, sadly, is a brief indictment of me, the parent who has unwittingly committed the same sins as my foremothers:
- Exhibit A: Though I am more cognizant of the circumstances surrounding altercations between my older and younger kids before meting out punishment, I find myself doing other things my parents used to do that I vowed not to do. For example, I sometimes put the older ones in charge of the little one (“Hey Jonah, can you help Casey put his coat on?” “Abbey, can you please get Casey out of the bathroom?”). I know I never liked being put in charge of my little brother, but, as a parent of multiple small children, I now realize that, sometimes, you need a little help. I also find myself imploring the older kids to “just play with Casey,” even though he’s been bothering them and ransacking their Lego village. Yet as the older kid, I hated being made to play with my brother!
Exhibit B: After a long day of refereeing, overseeing, and entertaining kids ages five, five, and two, I admit that I find myself shooing them into the living room to watch PBS so I can make a meal that they won’t eat. I’ve even used the verboten, “Can’t you kids just go play?” phrase, anything other than having them roll around the kitchen floor whining that they hate the food I’m making, that they’re bored and don’t want to play with Casey “’cause he wrecks stuff.” (Hardly how I pictured it would be when I was pregnant and thought they’d be well-behaved children who’d sit quietly and color.)
Exhibit C: The promise about not serving my kids food that I found disgusting is now hilarious. Oh, how I lambasted my mother for serving me over-cooked, crinkled peas that I simply chucked into our kitchen floor fan. And what is one of the primary vegetables I serve my kids? Crinkly peas. There’s a 25 percent chance that my offspring will eat peas at any given meal. Typically, my children barely eat anything resembling any kind of vegetable and I’m down to precious few options for my uber finicky trio. So, the wretched peas I despised, it is.
Exhibit D: How about not embarrassing the kids? I have vivid memories of being made to repeatedly face a wall one evening while visiting my grandparents because “The Godfather” was playing on broadcast TV and my folks didn’t want me to see some scenes. I grumbled loudly for years about how humiliating that was, questioning how my parents could have had that on TV while I was in the room, making me face the wall every five seconds (it was “The Godfather” after all). Decades later, I can’t even turn on broadcast TV in my kids’ presence without worrying about them getting a sudden peek at something like Janet Jackson’s breast. During the notorious Big Game—before we got a glimpse of Jackson’s solar nipple ring—we actually made our own kids face a wall while we scrambled for the remote control to turn off the sexually explicit and violent ads.
My name is Meredith. I am a parent and I am guilty of parental sins. Case closed. (Sorry Mom.)
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