I like writing about my kids because I love them and I think they're quite possibly the most interesting topic on the planet. Also, I learn a lot from being around them, mostly that I suck and need to grow up. Today's lesson, it's not them, it's me.
My two oldest kids, while on Easter break had been attending Art Camp at the community center. At the end of the week they had an Art Show which displayed all the awesome art the kids had been working on all week. Naturally my children were lightyears ahead in both skill and composition. Seriously, they were brilliant. Pastel chalk impressionist landscapes that would make Monet cry.
While viewing the masterpieces, in a room packed with kids and parents, the instructor came up and told my husband and me how helpful, Max, my oldest was in class. He was a great line leader (of course) and helped get all the children organized with supplies and whatnot in class. She then continued on telling us how Sofia had mastered the difficulty of going from painting on her hands to painting on paper. (She is truly a free spirit and completely unfettered by what anyone else thinks. It's cute and challenging all at the same time.) The instructor finished complimenting our children's behavior and artistic skills and then moved on to, I presume to console the other parents whose kids artwork looked like blind retarded monkeys did it.
I was very proud of my children and how well they were doing, and people who watch them in church or school activities are usually very complimentary about their behavior, but in the back of my head I always wonder, "Who are they talking about? My kids don't sit and listen, or help if they can possibly get out of it." As parents, my husband and I are both agreed, our kids are the best kids ever, but we also know what they are capable of becoming without strict environmental controls. So as I pondered when aliens could have possibly abducted my children, replaced them with well mannered exact replica's, then re-replaced them back in the art class without being noticed, the logistics of which had to be a nightmare, it dawned on me. More like landed on my head with a thud! The one common denomenator for my kids bad behavior is me. I am the constant for the majority of their shananigans. This is a real revelation for a parent. It says a lot about how I'm raising my kids, and more about what they think of me. Some of which is good, for example, kids do need a safe place they can take their bad stuff. It's in that safe place they learn how to politely navigate society, so we have provided that for them, and that's good. Then there's the not so great part, like my kids on some level behave like crazed hopped up squirrels because they don't give a rat fart about my rules. In my defense some of that last part is their age. But, that's probably not enough of a percentage to get me off the hook for crummy parenting. I'm a creature of habit and don't like to change me. So to be confonted with, "your immature, lazy parenting isn't helping your kids," is not fun. As much as I don't like to change, it's work, I believe I have a responsibility to raise my kids well. It's a big responsibility, like having a puppy, except with an eternal soul and college tuition.
Bottom line, if you don't really feel like growing up as a parent, never sign your kids up for art class. In fact, best not to let them know such things exist. That way they don't know how much fun they're not having and you won't know how lousy they aren't when you're not around. The grammer on that last sentence is perfectly sound. Think about it.