I am not a parent. I know nothing about raising kids. The tiny humans make me very uncomfortable at times. They can be good and cute, but they can also be mischievous and snot nosed. As they get older, it just seems to get worse. The hormones kick in and they turn their world, as well as yours, upside down. They change and grow in ways that no one expects. They use language and talk back in ways you never thought they would. But no matter what they say or do, you are the parent and they are the child. You are not their friend, buddy, pal, or confidant. Just accept this because you have a title that is greater than all of those and it is parent.
I am not a parent. I do, however, have great instincts and I know what is right from what is wrong. I have also studied Psychology and Counseling so I would say I know a little about the human condition. I also have many years of life experience. I have my childhood to reflect on. Counseling has helped me deal with many of those childhood issues that held me back from being the person I want to be. Of course, some of these issues still pop up on occasion. But, I know how to deal with them without blaming others. My sister has not reached this point unfortunately. We do a Secret Santa in my family for Christmas and my brother got my sister. When he found out he said, “Ugh! I’m getting her some therapy!” She truly needs it but is in denial about it. She is a battered woman who has not grown up a bit, even at 42 years of age.
I am not a parent. But my sister is. I do not like how she is parenting or has parented her daughter. Her most recent offense came last night. It was my birthday and I was at my parents house. We were sitting around enjoying birthday cake when I asked my niece if she told her mother about the conversation we had. My niece doesn’t know whether or not she wants to attend college. This is because she doesn’t believe in herself and I’m almost positive she also feels like her mother doesn’t believe in her either. I am pushing for my niece to try. She says she is lazy but I know that is an excuse. She is the co-captain of her drill team and shows up at the practices, games, and competitions like her life depends on it. She is sixteen years old and she needs a champion. What she needs more is her mother to be her champion. The only problem is that her mother doesn’t understand this. So when I mentioned my talk with my niece about taking her SAT and/or ACT and preparing to apply to college my sister was less than enthused. She commented how she’s a single parent and had to raise her daughter all by herself. Yet, she’s been living with my parents for the last 11 years. She also talked about how she hasn’t been saving money for my niece to go to college. She would rather her go to a 2 year and transfer. That’s fine, except for the fact that she’s not trying to give my niece a choice. That’s fine except that while living at our parents for 11 years, not paying rent and shopping obsessively, she could have saved that money for my niece. While also on her rant she made a comment about how my niece isn’t college material. This made my niece very upset. She felt like her mother didn’t believe in her and said this to my sister. My sister’s response was for her to suck it up and develop thicker skin because people will always say things you don’t want to hear. This response may work fine for a stranger or a different type of family member, but NOT for your daughter.
I am not a parent. Yet, I can see when my niece is hurting and it hurts me. I wanted to yell and scream and slap her mother. I didn’t. I wanted to tell her that while you may not agree with what your daughter is saying or believe it to be true, it is true in her heart and that is what matters. But, I didn’t. When my niece was younger my mom, my dad, my brother, and myself tried to help my sister raise her daughter. Her response to us was, “She’s my daughter and I’m her mother. I don’t need you to tell me how to raise my child.” So we all backed away. We picked my niece up from school when needed. Took her to appointments. But that was all that we were allowed to do. Yet, my sister has the nerve to complain about having to raise her daughter alone.
I am not a parent. But one day I hope to be. Not because I think I will be better at it than my sister. I know I will stumble. I will make mistakes. I will yell. I will say things I don’t mean. But I will also apologize. I will forgive myself for my mistakes. I will remember to breathe. Most of all I will love. I will love my child because he or she will be my contribution to this world. I want my contribution to be the best person they can be. In order for that to happen, I will have to be the best person I can be first. That is what makes a person worthy to carry the title of parent to me. I hope to be worthy someday.