The flawed mother

I am particularly hard on my kids if they ever dare utter the words ‘I’m bored’ or ‘what should I do now?’. I won’t tolerate that mainly because in my life I have struggled with being bored and aimless.

Before the age of about 28 I didn’t have any dreams or goals. I lived in a vacuum of the present tense. I lived life affected by the moment, affected by those around me and the goings on of the day. I never  considered developing any skills to any accomplished level. I have journals full of angst, desperate words wanting to believe in and be excited about something, anything! I tried many activities – dance, poetry, fine art, academics -  but nothing ever stuck with me. 

I think that now I do have what I was missing - purpose, drive and passion (how I finally got that is a story in itself, for another day) - I hold that up as a yardstick in my parenting. This can be a good thing, but it can also be potentially harmful.

Left image by Shannon Mucha, right by me

In the case of combating pointlessness - I give my kids lots of options, of things to do and believe in. I talk to them about the importance of finding something to love to do. If my kids show any interest in any topic we talk endlessly about it, buy a book about it, sign them up for a class, take them to a show, order a documentary on it from Netflix, generally generate excitement about the topic. We cover every base!

It could be argued that it is unfair to do that to my kids - to fill up their minds and schedules because I am particularly sensitive to what I lacked by way of passion. I swore not to try to live out my life through my kids, like the stage parent who pushes their kid to be an actor cause they missed the boat themselves. But it is hard not to, isn’t it?

But as it also stems from a desire for them to be happy and productive (I could never wish the emptiness of pointlessness & boredom on them), I can cut myself some slack here, but I think it is good practice to keep in context my personal failings. 

So while I don't let my kids say they are bored. Ever. I do realize that sometimes having nothing to do as a kid can be freeing and helpful. So sometimes I purposefully don't give them stuff to do and tell them to go play. And you know, they always find something fun to do or create. My goodness the amount of stuff my kids create in a week is astounding!

And in regards to their interests - if it sticks, great we keep going. If not, we let the interest fall by the wayside. I really don’t mind what they are interested in, as long as they are interested in something! Life is so full of good stuff to do and believe in, I want them to help them find their path.

So my principle is - when I feel myself getting overly upset at how they are acting I look at myself to see if it is something that has been my own issue. I try to step back and be cool. Then I pray that they are protected from my shortcomings and that good things will come from them instead!


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