Monday, January 09, 2006

Second Guessing

Shortly after waking up today, I was sitting on the sofa watching Sesame Street with the little guy, and rage took over my body. I have no idea why! I am pretty much a morning person, I love my cuddle time in the AM with Harry, I had a great weekend, I wasn't in a hurry to do much...but I just suddenly got so mad. The main thought in my head was that nothing I ever decided as a child seemed to be right. I grew up in a town where nothing I did was like what everyone else did. I lived in a place where I often felt like I need to apologize for having gone to college. You would think it was a mountain in Appalachia, but it was New Jersey. For all I know, maybe it was just my family that was difficult, and not everyone else in the town.
Still trying to figure out what caused these suppressed feelings to well up. Maybe it was the long lost relative I have recently started corresponding with that, like all of the others relatives I have ever emailed with, has decided to send me every God/Jesus message he can find. Maybe it was the conversation with a friend about how against daycare her husband is, being a child of daycare himself. Conversely, I was an at-home kid until nursery school and am against that. Maybe I spent my sleeping hours wondering if we all grow to despise our parents' decisions.
I may never know, but I keep hearing my mom's voice in my head repeating "Why would you want to do that?" or "Wouldn't you rather do this?" or "I know you like this dress but (wouldn't you rather waste 5 hours trying on 900 others) so that you can be sure?" I wasted the time fruitlessly trying on multiple dresses for my 8th grade graduation, but after that spent a lot more time out of my house and by the time my senior year of high school rolled around, I tried on 1 prom dress (a less-than-frilly ivory cocktail dress that would be in style to this day) and tried on 3 wedding dresses and ended up with the first one I saw - yes, off the rack even, but it was perfect for what I had in mind.
You might thing that I am easily satisfied or that I settle for things. I am not/ I do not. I just believe in knowing what you want and doing things right the first time. I have done this with cars, colleges and my decision to have a baby. The first time I really ran was to train for a marathon, which I completed 6 months later. I adjust things in my head, and then I set out to do them right. Yet, there are so many other things that I don't do or say because I feel that they may not be good enough or right enough, or else I swing the opposite direction and think my way is the only way to do anything. It's all very bipolar.
That crazy chick Dr. Laura seems to have a new book out about getting over our childhood. Now, I am the last person to say you should blame your childhood for anything! But, I also think you should be made aware of issues you have and perhaps establish where they came from before getting past them. I think it is helpful for me to remember all of those second guesses from my mom questioning why I would want to play softball (I didn't, at least not until 1 year in high school), or leave the area to go to college (I did, and I never went back) or not have a baby in my 20s (I waited). My decisions worked out for me. Those of my mom's that I listened to (dying my eyebrows, getting a water bed, painting my room peach) did not.
Somewhere along the way I forgot that my mother and I have almost always disagreed. She always seemed to be more interested in "showing me off" or having someone to love her than in just being my mother. She taught me how to read early, but then seemed to resent when I became smarter than her.
After Harry was born, she popped back into my life more actively and seemed to blend herself into my life. This was great, but it was not long lasting. Now she is here, and the tables seem to have turned again so that I feel I have to do what I can to make her happy, which is not always easy, since she is crazy. Yes, crazy, and most of me hopes she isn't reading this. Most of me.
The other day she emailed that she wanted to join us for Harry's birthday trip to Disney World. I politely emailed back that the three of us need our alone time as a family, but if they wanted to go to Florida and overlap their trip by a day, that would be great. I actually used the word "great." I haven't heard from her much since. I felt guilty for a few days, now I am just angry. I am angry that she could turn something having nothing to do with her, something I look forward to doing with my husband and child, into something that makes me feel bad. Maybe that is what brought up so many old memories.
My mom stayed at home with me until I was 8. I suppose you could say I was privileged. Most people just said in front of me that I was spoiled (I really wasn't). We weren't weathly, but I was an only child and I had lots of creature comforts. I didn't have friends or much attention though. My mom was usually on the phone or taking me off to do errands. When we did go to the neighbors', I played with the kids while the adults talked...usually about how unhappy they were at home or how they should get a job. I wished she would have too. I wished I had someone to play with. My first day of school was the greatest day of my life. I wished my parents didn't seem to put me in the middle all of the time. I wished I'd had parents who set rules, fed me vegetables, put me to bed by 8:30.
Certainly, I would hope, not every mom out there is crazy. I do think watching a child can be very stressful, regardless of who you are, and every woman should have time for herself. If you are crazy though, and maybe it is just my mom, Susan Smith, and Andre Yates, why would you think it best to make your child stay home with you all day, letting your negative thoughts spill onto them like acid? Kids are like sponges. They pick up the good stuff and the bad. You wouldn't use a kitchen sponge after cleaning up a messy salmonella spill, but some would assume that if they keep a tidy home and put bows in their daughters hair that she won't notice all of the poison erupting around her.
I look back on comments that I have made to Harry, especially that he is getting older now. I hope I have never discouraged him. I hope I have made it clear that I respect his idea to run around the pool and jump in without me catching him, it may be better to stay closer to me, at least so we don't run into any other swimmers. If he wants to do something I might think is icky, it's cool, he can do it, but I may not want to join him. Harry is his own person, and just because I disagree with him, doesn't mean what he is doing is wrong. Of course I would think this, after all, I am busy second guessing myself. Perhaps living on peanut butter is the best idea. What do I know. I am not the expert on life. No one is! And, perhaps, hard as I try, Harry may grow up and resent my decisions. I certainly hope not.
What I do know...I need to get out and run today! Running my not be the best thing for my particular body, but it does clear my head, and that makes it all worthwhile.

5 comments:

Gabrielle Lewis said...

This is my first time on this web site. I'd like to thank you for your posting. I found I was able to relate to some pieces and others I found humorous. I wish you the greatest luck with Harry.

Sincerely,
Gabrielle

Kimberly said...

Thanks Gabrielle! Naturally, I second guessed myself about posting it...didn't want anyone to misinterpret my words and be offended! Very glad you appreciated it :-)Parts were certainly meant to be light hearted!

Kimberly said...

Also- hope you enjoy the website! It has served as a great resource!

morgan said...

I wonder if having a child makes one examine one's own childhood and family... Since Iz was born, a lot of family angst and anger has surfaced. And the holidays this year didn't help.

A friend of mine said, "Family is overrated." A little harsh, but perhaps a bit true.

Disclaimer: I do love my family, and I am not usually an angst-ridden person, nor do I blame my parents for any problems I may have. But I do think recognizing and facing my history is necessary sometimes. And, hey, my parents did shape who I am, right?

Kimberly said...

Morgan- I think we are on the same page. I usually love my family too. New Years really did me in. I spent 4 days with them. Here's one theory: they haven't changed, but now I have Harry to take care of, and I assumed they would realize that, and not need me to do quite so much for them. My threshold for family issues is lower. Maybe it was low in high school too, and so similar feelings have surfaced.Or now things are just put intop a different perspective. Someone else's happiness is at stake. I think that is kind of what Lola was just saying too...this new little person's happiness become sthis huge focus of our lives.
I am pretty happy with the person I became, so I really shoudln't complain too much. I suppose there are bigger flaws I could have...(at least, I kind of hope so!)