Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The trouble with self assessment is being successful at it. Did you know that?

I don't mean to try and put any sort of sexy face on my problems, I mean I really do know they are boring - trust me - but hear me out a little here: I have kind of spent the past three or so years re-evaluating (and in some cases, re-inventing) myself ... front to back. Right?

I started by scheduling my initial referral appointment for weight loss surgery ... I believe that would have been September of 2009. I still can't believe I was ever 309 lbs ... but I was ... and I am not, now. I'm no bikini model and there are plenty who would still call me 'fat' (not likely to my face as I projectile cry) but I can gussy myself up to go out, and hold my head high whilst I peruse the aisles of Wal-Mart .... safe in the knowledge that I will NOT wind up on the "people of Wal-Mart" web site. *phew*. Color me happy with myself. 

Then, there was the whole 'Stretch is trying to emancipate herself from the family' incident. That has caused a great deal of change in our lives. Not the least of which, the delivery of the final nail in the coffin that was my  career? Job? I really don't know what to call that, honestly. Plus the ensuing year of being a home body. Not that I have been bored - I've had me some projects. The most important of which was honing a parenting skill or two.

My entire view of my parenting style and skills had been torn limb from limb. I mean I, at no point in the past 11 years, would have deigned to think that I "had this parenting thing down". Because let me just disabuse you of that notion right there. The only time I have ever felt confident as a parent was before I became one. 

Now, I have had (BRIEF) moments of cockiness. I expect we're done with them now... but when they were little ... yeah, I had moments of parenting greatness (in my eyes)... over all, though ... not so much. I don't think I ever had aspirations of such a thing. I can't think of anybody I have ever met that felt they had it figured out. I've talked to some amazing parents that speak from love and experience ... and I admire and respect them ... but they never got it all figured out, either. It's not really an exact science.

What I HAVE learned is that I am lacking in a number of areas. "We" are, actually. (This isn't a "poor Dani" post. I promise. It's been a really interesting experience - having the time to steep in this.) What I mean is, I am starting to see things from a slightly different view. For example, the amount of actual "time" we spend with our kids. Not 'in their presence', but engaged with them - on their level. I sucked at that ... and I didn't even really know. I spend a metric ton of time around my kids - but how much of it matters? If you're not engaged somehow WITH each other, let them play video games ... or perhaps preferably just 'play' - if you figure out how to get THAT balance right ... do let me know. That one was a biggie for me. Still is, really. It is a conscious effort for me to 'engage' fully. But at least I am realizing that I haven't been. (For the love of GAWD! Encourage and praise me ... I'm dyin' over here!)

Another thing I have come to realize recently is that in many cases, the things your parents didn't mean to teach you were, in fact, of the highest impact. I mean this for better or for worse. I'll give you a for instance: When I was a kid, I can remember my mother ALWAYS apologized when she was wrong. Even when I was pretty darned young. If she realized she had wronged anyone ... even her baby, she made it right. (Could very likely be the root of my intense emotional issue with her now ... it is just SO in-congruent, the way she has been behaving. (Did I really need the passive aggressive snipe?)

My point ... did I have a point? Oh, yes ... the things I don't mean to teach my kids: How about "how hard being an adult can be"? They don't need to know this yet. I don't "mean" to be teaching them ... but I am, and I don't know how to stop. I am pathologically honest much of the time (not to insinuate I have never lied ...) I just can't seem to shut my mouth sometimes much of the time ever. What IS that? I am sure I teach them other things without meaning to, better things - not the least of which, the thing my Mom taught me about being sorry ... but I truly wish I could STOP with the heavy reality of our existence. Don't get me wrong - it isn't like I'm telling them "the truth" ... more like every second thing they want is "too expensive" or "maybe next week we can afford to ..." or whatever. I.Hate.It. I hate that my mind is always firmly perched on money. It's relentless. I have said the words 'can't afford' enough times now that it makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I say it now. I could chop my own tongue off... and I hear my kids saying it now and then. It's just gross.

There are others, but my mind is starting to flip channels again. It's getting close to feeding time and I have to go and pick Stretch up at her friend's place. She has a play date today. Or as she has recently pointed out: She's HANGING OUT!! Not on a PLAY DATE!!! Play dates are for little kids, like Shorty. *le sigh* Who told her to go and grow up, anyway? Oh ... me, you say? Why didn't you stop me?

I guess to try and tie this streaming line of consciousness together, I had a doctor's appointment today. She has expressed concern that I may be on the lower spectrum of bi-polar disorder. I don't necessarily agree. I don't honestly know enough about the topic to say one way or the other. I certainly do seem to have issues with 'mood'. That's hard to explain without a lot of words, but you few that still read have been with me a long time and you've seen it. Either way, we've been messing with meds and she told me (a month ago) I had to stop smoking any pot for a month. I made it two weeks and the blackness came. I told her today that in my current state of needing to be successful in this business endeavor more than anything (other than being a decent parent), that I was not prepared to rock the boat. I also said that due to the introspective nature of my existence this past year, that it only makes sense I would be struggling with my own inner truths. (...and I wonder why I have such dramatic kids ... GAH!) She thinks I need to be medicated and wants me to keep a close eye on myself... but she also said that I am bright enough to make it work and that she'll trust me with it ... for now. (Can't you just hear the cheesy BAMP BAMP BAMMMM?)

So ... the moral of this story is that my head is all over the map, apparently. NO! It's about self assessment. You have to be prepared for what you'll find if you decide to go looking. It has been good, bad and (in more cases than I really want to admit) ugly for me. Though I have to admit, I am glad (in most cases) to know. It continues to blow my ever loving mind how blind we can be about ourselves. I could go on and on with examples, but as previously noted, feeding time approaches. I must go and be the giver of sustenance. 

Hope all is well in the world of mah bleeps! 

Dramatically yours,
Dani 

2 comments:

brite said...

You are an excellent parent, given that you take the time to question and change your techniques...you will never be the perfect parent and even when those lovely girls are all growed up and gone from your house, incidents and words will come back to haunt you (at least that's how it is for me), BUT there will be validation, when they tell you as adults how much you mean to them and how your love is the best thing in their lives....that's success.
As for the doctor's advice...I'm a strong advocate for 'self medicating' with the wonder herb...if you do some research you'll find that there are particular strains that work better for depression, sleeplessness,etc, those hippies that used to grow some pot in the garden have become botanical geniuses and know more about the effects of the many many kinds of cannabinoids than a medically school trained doctor ever will. And if you've been a regular smoker for any length of time, abstaining can be a hellhole of no sleep, mood swings and the very things your doc says she wants to medicate you for.Her advice to follow your own judgement is wise.

Eyvi Sprite said...

You, my darling, are a very good parent. How do I know? I have seen you in action, I have heard you wax poetic about those beautiful girls of yours and the fact that you question your skills and constantly re-evaluate.

Self-aware is something most people shy away from. You continue to delve even when the things you find are not pretty. What I'm saying is: you're right, nobody has it all figured out but you recognize you're infallible and that goes a hell of a long way.

I've missed you! ;)