Kids and why you can’t kill them.
We’re talking therapy this week and nothing makes a person seek out therapy like children. Having a child tests everything you hold as dear. Kids are not easy but like all things that test you, the reward is great. So today we finally explain why Tuesdays are titled ‘Kids and why you can’t kill them’. The obvious reason is that murder is illegal but there are so many other reasons to keep those little buggers alive.
Lee says: Before my kids, I had been a very moody girl. I would say in retrospect I was dramatic, prone to fits of rage and probably could pass for a tortured artist except for the fact both of my ears are intact and quite cute. Being married to Paul quelled some of the micro-suicidal behaviors, like being reckless, but the moods that would shift with the coming and goings of white sales at J.C. Penney still made me a handful.
Going through infertility just added pathos to my Oscar-worthy repertoire. When I became a mom, in one fell swoop, all of that had to go away. I was no longer living for an audience. I was responsible for the caring and protecting of this defenseless creature. In Jeannie’s case, her needs were above and beyond the normal. I had to grow up fast and put my big girl panties on. I needed to ignore the nagging sense that I was not up to the job and do what needed to be done.
Paul says: My mom will be happy to know that I did not get into therapy because I am all screwed up or had a Children Services childhood. I do this so that I become a better man, husband and father. I do this so that, when things get funky, I have some other tools to rely on and do not need to jump into the deep pool of insecurity.
Lee continues: Sometimes parents get overwhelmed by the job and have this weird idea that they can’t parent. ‘I don’t know what to do’ is a common mantra for the newbies. But also common is the boastful ‘I was born to do this, blah, blah’. Either way, Mom and Dad, the reality is we do our best. They don’t come with instruction manuals and your only examples of parenting were probably flawed. It is normal to fall in either camp (terrified or boastful). The reality is we all were overwhelmed. We all felt ill-prepared for the job and in only a small percentage of cases were the people that parented the worst that can happen to a child.
Before marriage I did go through some therapy and even was on Prozac for a while. The therapy was cursory at best and never really delved into the deep, core issues that affected the thoughts behind my behavior. Being a Mom has motivated more work and the deeper I go the better Mother I ultimately become. No, my kids aren’t perfect but I am present with my kids. I don’t smother or over-schedule them in an effort to show that my kids are getting every advantage. All that does is make dependent and tired kids which is not our goal as parents.
The best part of parents having therapy is what you are modeling for your child. For arguments sake, let’s say you are a perfect parent. What if your child lives a wonderful life and at the age of 25 they are traumatized by heart break or loss, what do they do? What resource have you taught them?
Many people eschew therapy preferring to live an unexamined life. I, like Socrates, think that that life would not be worth living. What is so scary? You already went through it once and reminding yourself of it and learning to look at it a different way sounds easier than hiding it from the world. Your kids are mirrors of yourself. Your children reflect your own dysfunction at different stages of their life. And yet we are surprised when they do. Change the clothes and hairstyle and you are probably looking at yourself 20 years before. So if you are interested in healthy kids, do some therapy.
And lastly the answer to why you can’t kill your kids: It’s bad luck to break a mirror.