I'm all about the mommyblogging lately. But y'all without kids, we are talking serious life issues here. Two words for those who think that talk about parenting involves a parochial set of concerns: KING LEAR.
Or maybe Romeo and Juliet. OMG all of Shakespeare is about parenting. HAMLET? Parenting!
Even Henry IV is about parenting. Henry V, not so much.
God, there's this conventional opening in mommyblogging that I cannot bring myself to repeat here where you start with the quote from your child. "Mommy, why did Grandpa die?"
OK, if I don't do that how do I start this post?
Well, we've been having issues, my daughter and I. Last week we were best friends and this week, I had to neglect her, as I often do. Neglect=not pay attention to her every second. This is what children require and I'm not fucking kidding here.
We were with relatives and she was being spoiled rotten. But that is not the main issue, I think. The main thing was that I was stressed out and cranky and she is a responsive little sea anemone when it comes to every single emotion I have. And, you know me, most of my emotions are negative.
Also, I am screwing her up. More on that later perhaps. OK, I'll tell you: I crazily said I wanted to move away and get my own apartment. No, my own cave. To both her and my husband. Shit, I suck. Of course, I immediately reassured her that this was just mommy's craziness, with which she is well-acquainted. But why put that idea in her head?
So, riddled with guilt I asked her if there is anything in her life she wants changed. She says "No." Then she says: "Back up. What was that question again?"
In short, the thing she wants changed is me. I worry too much. What do I worry about? "Money," she says. Then she says "You just waste your life with worrying. Worrying wastes your life."
This is what I repeat to her when she worries. This is what I know, from experience, since I wasted some of my life worrying and apparently, I can't seem to stop.
It is not realistic right now for me to not worry about money. But the primary thing I worry about, now that my ridiculous job situation is more secure, is her.
Every single thing she does seems to worry me. If she is too aggressive with other children, that worries me. She seems insecure and can't handle it if people don't pay attention to her so she aggressively tries to get their attention. People love her friendliness, but that worries me. Will she get nabbed. She is abnormally trusting and friendly. (See? I can't stop.) Get this: She is five and I worry she is undisciplined. She hates to help around the house. She is resistant to any rules or structure.
What the fuck? I can't even articulate it.
This is profoundly pathological, in my view. It sounds like I am deeply dissatisfied with my own child but it is not that at all. I adore my child. I absolutely adore her. I worship her. She seems glorious, all too glorious. How could such an exceptional child be saddled with me as a mother?
I try not to actively criticize her, ever. At the same time, there is no way that any kid, particularly a kid as freakishly perceptive as mine, is not going to pick up on this general trend.
In other words, it is my own parenting that is the issue. I think I am too permissive: I give her candy (obviously, only sometimes). I let her watch violent superhero cartoons (obviously, only occasionally), I put her to bed too late. I don't make her do chores. Am I helping her enough to learn things in school? Did I forget her homework? I already let her music lessons lapse. We are late for soccer sometimes!
Her diet is not varied enough. She is not getting enough time outdoors because I am sometimes too busy/tired to take her to the park.
The world is a terrifying, frightening place. We are all doomed.
Every single thing is my fault. Global warming! What the hell am I doing about that?
Of course, I still worry constantly about my work.
Money. It's so huge. Our money situation is so disastrous that I almost can't bring myself to worry about it. Thinking about that would be like opening a closet that one's been stuffing dirty laundry in for 20 years. But of course, it is always in the background of our lives. I try not to buy a bottle of water and then I do buy a bottle of water. And I say something under my breath. She hears it. We can't afford this or that but I'm such a hopelessly disorganized person that I can't get a handle on every little thing.
There's no fucking point to any of it. Worry is a waste, an utter waste. The only thing worth fearing is nearly impossible to prevent.
What a thing worry is. What a metastasizing blob that destroys the only thing we have--this hour, this minute.
It's all going away. But shit. Nothing can be done about that.
It probably doesn't help that I read the Alice Munro story, "Silence" about a mother whose daughter leaves her forever for the twentieth time last week.
I hate profound endings to blog posts or anything else. Neat little platitudes. I'm going for the zero ending but I can't help but say:
Jesus had it going on, always. But especially in Luke: "do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"
Wow, ravens. I thought it was some other bird but I like it being ravens. Seems more bizarre and scary that way. The freaky ravens make it. Why can't you?
Worrying doesn't do shit, in other words. I've got to fucking cut it out.