I want it. I cannot have it.
I want Control over my life, yes, but even more I want Control over my children’s lives. I want them to be happy, but not selfish. I want them to be smart, both in books and street. I want them to be respectful, but wise. I want them to understand that our culture is sick, but I don’t want them to disengage/numb from it. I want them to seek adventure, but always with a helmet and an exit strategy.
I want them to wash their fucking hands and brush their goddamn teeth.
I want them to be Perfect.
And why shouldn’t they be?! I have spent a lot of time thinking about them and finding them the perfect schools and the perfect milk and the perfect limitations for electronics and sassiness.
And still they are defiant and whiny and ungrateful. In fact, they even seem UNHAPPY sometimes. How dare they be unhappy? Don’t they know how hard I am trying here? Why can’t they just get with the fucking program and be happy and self-actualized (whatever that is)? Instead, I look at them and think, “holy hell, they are just like me, but without concern for hygiene.”
I wish I could gracefully give them the Gift of Failure. I wish I could look at them serenely when they are insisting on not following some rule and say, “Ok, son. Go ahead and touch that hot stove because I can see that suffering a first-degree burn is the only way you’re going to believe that the stove is hot and dangerous.”
But we live in a zero tolerance world. Especially for boys. Failure could easily turn into broken bones, an overturned car, a prison sentence. (Yes, my boys are 9 and 11 and I can totally see that these concerns are not, most likely, going to happen today. But the future is right around the corner and we need to prepare, people.)
If they would just LISTEN to me, everything would be perfect. They would be perfect. Because, it turns out, I have the power to raise perfect children. Right? Because I am perfect, yes?
Deep breath. Heavy sigh. My little “24 Hours A Day” book tells me that “worry is terrible mental punishment.” And it is. It really, really is. But how to do this? How to let go of these destructive thoughts of perfection and this desire for control?