My husband is one of the only people I know – possibly the only person I know who has no complaints about his childhood and the way his parents raised him. None. I’m pretty sure his mother thinks I’m just trying to be nice when I tell her this. Like every other mom on the planet, she’s sure she did plenty wrong.
But I wonder if she takes me just seriously enough to be pleased. I know I would be thrilled.
I’m already sure I do plenty wrong. A bountiful plenty. If I could pinpoint exactly what I am doing wrong I’d be happy to fix it, but on any given day I have a different worry. I’m too strict. I’m too easygoing. I’m not consistent…or am I being flexible?
Some days things just go perfectly. At the end of a great day when we’re snuggled together talking before lights out he’ll hug me and say something both sweet and slightly disturbing like “I’ll still love you even when you die.” and I’ll think Yep, I’ve got it all sewn up.
Then I let myself picture a grown up Janie/Frieda/Suzie telling me how Robbie has no complaints about his childhood. None at all.
More likely I’ll be getting a detailed list of his complaints from his lawyer. Or his therapist. But a mother can dream, right?
Maybe there should be some kind of annual review process for parents and children. Just like at your office job. Your kids tell you (constructively) what they think of your parenting style and you tell them (respectfully) what they could be doing to make your job easier.
That way you don’t have to wait for the tell-all book to be published to find out exactly what kind of emotional scarring you inflicted by insisting they brush their teeth for the full two minutes.