Great Expectations

Good thing I had zero expectations of last night’s debate, and I wasn’t disappointed. Life lesson – if you have no expectations you can’t be disappointed. Oops I forgot politics free zone.

I had this false vision, a grandiose expectation if you will, that if I focused on one job, being a “homeschooling” mom, I would miraculously turn into Mary Poppins. I would have the energy and desire to bake and do art projects.  I would be patient and pleasant. Instead, the reality has shown, I hide in the closet and nervously clean every surface in my house.

For 6 years my daughter was raised by other people who have a “calling” to care for children. My limited childcare experience was as a day camp counselor which was 39 days of being with kids. Period. 39 days, that is my limit. I had other people help me keep my kid in check during the terrible 2s, thrill seeking 3s, frightening 4s, and fickle 5s…and Andrew and I would raise her, nights & weekends, and on vacations. But when the sass would return it was time to hand her back to the professionals to mold her back into shape and a person we were “ok” with taking out in public. Rinse & Repeat. Literally, up until COVID the longest one on one time I spent with my daughter from talking age, was 13 days in Japan.

Now after 7 months of being raised by only her dad and I – and a lot of inappropriate TV – (every Star Wars, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter to name a few) I have a feral 6 year old! I know, I know, “kids need socialization,” “their friends to keep them in check,” “we are all doing our best”, yada, yada, yada. I agree, and yet all these words of encouragement are not helping! I was hiding in my closet yesterday when she found me! My daughter had to show me the “words” (they were lovely letters, but no actual words) she wrote in a notebook. Of course I said “lovely writing” – I am not a complete ogre, need to reinforce the positive – but I also said “your teacher is on math, so you need to focus on what the teacher is asking of you”, which was intensely rebutted by massive sassy stomping away and shouting, with a solid eye roll “MAAAAM”. Damn those cartoons! PS. Have you seen the new Scooby Doo? Not for a 6-year-old! Daphne is sexy, Fred is horny, and Velma is a mean girl. Ooops, another fail on letting her get addicted to that. And while I am on random thoughts, DO WE REALLY NEED TO HEAR ABOUT JOHNNY APPLESEED EVERY DAY DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER!! We get it, the original environmentalist.

My parenting style is that of fleeing. Fight or Flight? See ya! That is really my style period. But as a parent I don’t yell. I ignore. The PC term to ensure CPS doesn’t have me on their radar is that I do not “engage”. I ignore when my kid has behavior I don’t like, or more accurate assessment, I don’t know what to do with. I feel that I am back to square one with a 2 year old, pushing the limits of what I will and will not put up with. She is seeing how much she can get away with before I flee and just give up or in. I am quite sure most parents at some point think their child is hard of hearing. They must be, right?? They can’t possibly be ignoring everything I say???… How many more times during the day can I say “walk away and take a breathe” (mostly to her, and also to me). My mantras are more like, “I will be patient.” “I will be present,” “I will not hide in the potty”. And now I am a yeller! SHE has turned me into a yeller (yes that is totally unfair, a 6-year-old did not make me something). But honestly, how much more dissonance can I handle??

On the bright side, one expectation I had, not a great one, maybe we should call it a fear, was that if I did not have a job to “clock in” at I would start drinking at lunch. Good news, I don’t. Fear averted. But fear of not being a good mom, alive and well. I officially have both on my resume, “paid job working mom” and “working in the home mom”. Fear of sucking at both – Mission Accomplished!

“Eight percent of success is showing up” ~ Woody Allen

Hiding in my closet

FYI: I am not homeschooling – the teachers are doing the amazing hard work of setting us up for success. We are trying to execute on their plans. Thank you teachers! I am in awe of your patience and persistence.

Published by rachaelsarahgass

Working mom, wife, friend, sister, organizational psychologist, learner, coach. Kindness Counts. People First. Integrity Always.

3 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. I always thought if I did have children and if I was Jewish AND lived in Israel and lived on a kibbutz-that it would be cool because you share child raising responsibilities. (It would be even cooler if you could minus the farming and industrial work parts.) Rachael-Mary Poppins didn’t become Supercalifragilistic in 2 weeks! Just sayin’ (random things obviously to take a work break).

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  2. Rae, you are doing a great job! We are all a work in progress, including your kiddo! Give yourselves a minute, you’ve been doing this full time for about a minute! PS – Mary Poppins is an unreal expectation for ANYONE, maybe try Mr. Mom?! (haven’t seen that movie in a minute!).

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