Friday, December 22, 2017

Things I learned in 2017

1) Parenting never gets easier

That's a really dramatic statement, isn't it? Maybe one of the things I should have learned in 2017 is to be less dramatic.

For real though, this parenting ish? Holy crap y'all. I thought getting them to adulthood would be the hard part, Navigating the early adulthood years is really similar to navigating the "mother of twins at the age of 22 with no freaking idea what she's doing" years. I just have more gray hair and a better car. Otherwise? Same.

I try to mitigate these fears by telling myself I've never raised children, I've been raising adults all along. To be fair, my kids are pretty nice and do things like "have jobs" and "go to college" and "not bring home a biker named Thor to Thanksgiving dinner" (no offense to any bikers named Thor as I'm sure you are lovely people and while I would gladly feed you Thanksgiving dinner...I'm just hopeful my daughter's first serious boyfriend will be a bit more tame). I generally like them and think they are doing okay, but every now and then one of them does something so boneheaded I just think "HOW COULD I HAVE RAISED THIS NONSENSE?!!?"

Again. Dramatic. I'll work on that in 2018.

2) You can't parent two kids the exact same way

I've always been obsessed with fairness when it comes to my children. I want things to be fair and equal, always, and I think that was really exacerbated by the fact that I had twins. People continually referred to them as "the twins" or "the babies" and I was like, "Noooooo! They are two different people just born on the same day!" (See also: dramatic) This was less of an issue as they got older and people didn't automatically recognize by their size that they were twins. In fact, most people who have met me within the last few years actually have no idea they are twins unless it comes up in conversation.

The problem now? Me.

I realized over the last year or so that despite all my protests about treating them like different people, I wasn't doing a great job with this. They are actually very different and what would be no big deal to one of them might send the other into a shame spiral lasting for days and days. They have extremely different coping mechanisms. They usually care about the same things (for example, graduating college) but they care about it in different ways (one is a straight A student, the other is an average student with more of a balanced social life and both of these are absolutely fine and what is right for that individual). We're in a growth phase (not physically, thank God. If Jonathan gets any taller I don't think pants will even exist for his measurements), all three of us. I'm figuring this out along with them. I'm trying to be the mom they need, each one of them, even if it means that I have to be a very different mom based on who I'm dealing with. My goal is to never be a mom (or a person) who says, "This is just the way I am!". I have to be able to adapt to what the person in front of me needs, whether it's a strong lecture or a gentle hug. (My other goal is more hugs, always).

3) A "like" is meaningless

I could say this about social media in general, but let's talk about The Facebook.

In days of yore, you could only "like" things on Facebook. There weren't the "sad" and "angry" and "love" options we have today. This meant that sometimes people would "like" things which were, in effect, horrifying. I am certain this was in an effort to say, "I read this and I care", not because everyone is a big dickface.

I've noticed lately that there are people who literally slap a "like" on everything, sometimes to the point that I want to email them and say, "Please stop liking what that person posts and maybe they'll stop posting insane nonsense and tagging me in it, okay?" I'm guilty of this too...scroll, scroll, scroll, like. Move on with your day. Don't think about it again.

That wasn't the goal, was it? It was about connection and community and now it's just...not.

The other thing I'm really guilty of is hate-following people. This is a thing and it happens a lot on The Instagram. I follow a lot of people that, in reality, I would not like in real life. I mostly follow them because I am appalled by their behavior and like to watch the dumpster fire unfold in real life.

That's...just so awful, isn't it? I feel actually ashamed of myself as I type it out and even more ashamed when I think about the fact that some of  these people have some serious problems (as evidenced by the things they post) and they are feeding off of the attention of people like me.

It's gross. I'm not doing it anymore. I unfollowed a ton of people on Instagram because that's is not who I want to be. I want people to be well. I want people who need help to get help. I don't need to be a spectator in their bad decisions and I feel just awful that I've done this for so long.

Just because the world is on fire does not mean I have to stand there pouring gasoline. I want to be better than that.

4) If I am continually hard on myself my children might mirror that

My son said something the other day about how he didn't know much about history and I nearly fell out of my chair because seriously that kid knows how many times George Washington farted in any given year. The more I talked to him the more I realized that he is so very afraid to say he's good at something because he thinks it makes him look like he's full of himself and he (sadly) has low self-esteem.

I started explaining to him that it's totally OKAY to say you are good at something. It's not bragging to take pride in the things you do. A former boss of mine once told me that God gave me talents and gifts for a reason and it was a GOOD thing to get paid for your talents and gifts. As I was banging on about all of this I realized that I was fighting myself internally to say the words, "I am good at giving presentations".

I have caused my kid to feel this way, because of my own inability to praise myself.

I said it out loud though. It felt weird, but I said, "I am good at giving presentations. I don't necessarily like to do it, but I am good at it. It's one of my talents and gifts."

I am also excellent at making baked goods.
I am a good dog mom and Ginger is very happy.
I love my husband deeply and work really, really hard to meet him where he is when he's trying to work things out.
I try really hard to do my best at everything and even when I fail I know I've tried.

All of this is okay for me to say. I'm not saying this because I think I'm any better than anyone else. I'm saying it only because it's true. It's okay to be good at things and it's okay to say you are good at things and not just constantly talk about what you need to improve on.

5) I have to stop thinking I have time

Maybe I do, maybe I don't. I just don't know.

2017, in general, has not been the best year. A lot of things have happened that I'm not yet brave enough to talk about. A lot of things have happened that aren't really my stories to tell. Some of those stories will just never be told, and that's okay. I have learned to guard my heart a little more and I have learned that not everything needs to be said. Both of those are good lessons.

I'm writing again, though. Every day. Some stories do need to be told and frankly, I'm just tired of waiting for the right time to tell them.

There is never a right time. There will always be more work than time, parenting will never end, travelling is always hard. It's all excuses. When I lost weight for real, it was because I was tired of waiting. Finally tired of it. Sick of just fiddlefarting around making "efforts". It was a process, like everything else, and it is for the rest of my life, like everything else that's worth doing.

Writing is the same. It's a process. It's for the rest of my life because it can't be anything else.

I don't know if I have time, but I know I have stories to tell you. Blogging won't ever be the same as it used to be. Bad reviews will still (always) hurt me to my core. I'm not funny, if I ever was.


I'm going to be better with the time I have left. If it's a minute or fifty years. It doesn't matter.

There is so much I have left unwritten and that just won't do.

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