Saturday, 13 December 2014

#1 Expectation: The Perfect Family

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her

My first expectation relates to family – I have this absurd notion (that my family refers to as my “Brady Bunch Mentality”) that families want to spend time together sharing happily in each others’ lives - because they have been parented that way.

No-one told me that my two children would be polar opposites and have very little in common. I didn’t consider the fact that my independent and introverted son would not want to share the minuatae of his teenage and adult life with his mother (even though I was interested in what he was doing), or that my daughter would swap her closeness to me with a closeness to her husband (couldn’t we share her?).

My husband told me that one of our prime aims in raising our children was to create independent adults who didn’t need to be tied to our apron strings and I should be happy we succeeded. And I am happy that we have parented two well adjusted, self sufficient young people, but at the same time I miss being an integral part of their lives and having them orbiting around me.

The other factor that adds into this unmet expectation is that other friends talk about their children in an edited version (a bit like the Christmas newsletters of old) where they only discuss the acceptable and interesting aspects of their adult children’s lives, the facebook version of life where everyone is successful or happy or coming home for a visit…the rest is conveniently left out of the conversation. No-one actually lies, they just omit the parts that don’t reflect well on their family.

I truly believe we need to be more honest and open – not putting our families down or comparing who has the best or worst child, but by being willing to share the ups and downs and disappointments - as well as the accomplishments and successes. I need to admit I had ideals that were maybe a little unrealistic (after all the Brady’s were fictional AND they had Alice!) I need to cut myself a little slack and see the wonderful human beings I created and enjoy them for who they are and relish the fact that they aren’t Mini-Me-s (thank goodness for that).

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