Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Simmer me down

When did it become so competitive? I can see it, I guess, if I think hard enough. The way we can know everything, if having access to YouTube and constant television and the Internet means we know everything. Sometimes I wonder, though. If we actually know everything, or if we have become faux experts in knowing the surface skim of everything.

My 10 year old needed to take a break from track and field this summer due to an injury. She was devastated and said, but what about the Olympics. I was like, what about them? How about we just run on a team and have some fun and try our best? When did it become the ultimate goal that you need to win? Be the Best?

I guess we've pushed in the sense that whatever you do you do your best. Somehow that got translated, likely in the telling; this is on us, not her, anyways it got translated into be THE best, not be YOUR best. Fine line. Easy to blur. From a to b becomes the world of a difference though, because be your best, do your best work at home, at school, on the playground, on the team, morphed slowly but surely into be THE best, at home, at school, on the playground, on the team.

I can see it at home. The very minor, unspoken, unacknowledged and likely even unknown competition between three girls. Who is the best at what. All of them defining themselves as themselves but also as not. As in I am -not a dancer, -not a track star, -not a pianist, -not the good girl or bad girl or shy one or intense one or funny one.

I am guilty of being their biggest assistant with the best issue. I have that fatal parental flaw, the one that says your life is going to be Perfect because mine sure as shit isn't. The flaw that thinks that if they just find their magic their life will unfold beautifully, play by play of and then this led to that and now, look how happy and successful they are. And that is all I want, really; it is for them to be happy and if happy is a rental house with one bedroom and some second hand clothes I mean sure I will be fine with that and then I know that I am not fine with that and it leads me back to the answer to the questions, and when did it all become so competitive and it leads me right back to me.

I have to figure it out. How to be the opposite of a Tiger mom. I am reading the book The Dolphin Way: A Parent's Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy, Motivated Kids Without Turning into a Tiger [aside: that title is WAY too long], and it is truly helping me to simmer down. Relax. Let me be a guide, a facilitator, not the crazy psycho parent I have to tame down every morning when I get up. Because besides having my face light up every single time I see my kids, my job is not to push with a cattle prod, which unfortunately is my natural inclination. Rather, my job is to support what gives them joy.

And sometimes that is going to be THE best, and sometimes (more often than not), that is going to be THEIR best.

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