Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I'm Allowed

I read a post on Facebook by a Mother about her teenage child, she wrote that there were times she wished she never had kids. Then she explained in detail what her son did that made her so angry.

I'm not in her situation, I don't know her pressures, but what he did didn't sound so awful to me. However, what worried me was that this 'I wished I never had kids because the one I've got did something than angered me.' kind of post is so incredibly personal and so incredibly public. I wondered if the boy would ever read this. Would he see the anger in the post? Would he see the wish that he hadn't been born. Is momentary anger an excuse for the public humiliation of your child?

I'm not a parent.

I know that.

But I'm a child of a parent.

I'm not a parent.

But I occasionally provide care for children.

And I'm allowed to wonder.

I was sitting in a food court. Across from me was a mother with her child who had a physical and intellectual disability. She was seated beside him in his wheelchair. She was with a friend and they were meeting for lunch. At one point the boy in the chair dropped something to the floor. She got flustered from being interrupted in her conversation by needing to pick it off the floor. She said, to all listening, "If I'd known he was going to be like this I would have ..." She stopped herself. She looked around, "I'm sorry," she said to her friend, a little loudly, hoping others would hear, "he's a lovely boy and sometimes I say stupid things." Then she looked at her son, and whispering lovingly, she said, "You know I love you just the way you are."

I'm not a parent.

I know that.

But I'm a child of a parent.

I'm not a parent.

But I occasionally provide care for children.

And I'm allowed to be impressed by a woman who knows what words do, a woman that can stop words mid-sentence, a woman that can apologize for what she realized she almost did.

I'm allowed.

3 comments:

Winter said...

Parenting is a challenging (and rewarding, don't get me wrong) experience, and I feel it's one that needs to be met with support instead of judgment...and I feel people in general are sometimes too quick to judge parents for their choices/actions. Sure, I don't personally agree with the first person mentioned in today's blog posting on facebook about her child, but a variable amount of parents feel this way about their child/children at one time or another. I think voicing that feeling in a harmful way isn't good parenting, but having that feeling doesn't automatically make someone a bad person/parent. Y'know?

leslie sobel said...

Yes exactly. It is normal for anyone to get frustrated and angry at times. I'm the mother of three adult kids and there were definitely times when they made me incredibly angry or frustrated. No one can push one's buttons like a teenager. That said, I would never post something about that stuff on FB or some other forum. It's not fair to one's kids ever. Part of being a parent is to first do no harm and while we all screw up doing something like that seems incredibly hard because it sticks around forever.

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Having the feeling doesn't make someone a bad parent, no. But having that feeling, and then disclosing it in a way that could eventually get back to the child--maybe not today, but when they are older and better able to understand--is maybe not the wisest way of dealing with that feeling. Sometimes it is better to save those feelings for when you can disclose them to a closer circle of friends or family who will understand and listen--and who will be careful not to share them with the child. Parents, like anyone else, have a right to feel what they feel, and to have those feelings heard and validated, and then be supported toward making positive choices for how to respond to their child in that moment. I don't judge a parent for wishing on occasion that they weren't a parent. And they may NEED to talk about it with someone so they can air it out and not let the feeling fester and get worse. But I do think they need to be careful about how they disclose that, who they disclose it to, and when. And a public blog site that could linger in an old digital cache or archive somewhere for years even after you think you have deleted every trace of that blog? Or even what you think is a private Facebook feed that you think is only visible to a small number of people? (Facebook keeps messing around with their privacy settings, so do you really know for sure?) Is maybe not the best way to do it.