Thursday, August 18, 2011

460 Off on a Tangent... Again

Katie has been back in school for less than two weeks, and already I am reminded of why Summer Break is so very awesome. How I managed to forget the early alarm clock, the pick up right when Connor should be going down for a nap, or the hell that is homework I will never know, but forget it I did.

Monday was one of those horrible, rotten, very bad days that makes you question your sanity and/or your parenting skills. The struggle to get homework done ... or to even get Katie to crack open a book is a hard one every day. Monday however I had promised Katie that I would take her to get feathers in her hair. You know, since we obviously are rolling in dough, might as well spend $25 (plus the $5 tip, of course) for three skinny little feathers off a rooster which took a whole five minutes to crimp into her hair. I had my reservations about the feathers, but she has been asking for them all summer, and the school cleared the skinny ones to go along with dress code. So, I gave in. Sure, I can't get her to comb her hair on a daily basis, but she wants to go to a beauty salon ... for feathers... And we all know I am a huge pushover, so we headed out to find a beauty salon that would do feathers. Her friend Mia had feathers done at a little salon, so I looked it up and we headed that way ... I did not check the days and times it was open, and not being very girly myself I didn't even think that some salons aren't open on Mondays. Of course, we had passed several beauty shops on the way, so we just made a u-turn and found another. We ended up at Cabello Salon, and Jennifer was super sweet with Katie. We picked out the feathers and she popped them on in and we were off again. Yellow, purple, and turquoise if you were wondering.

We walked outside and I tried to get Katie to pause for a picture... she immediately threw a little diva attitude. SERIOUSLY?! Two seconds haven't passed since I just handed over the cash for those little things in her hair! You would think it wouldn't surprise me by now, but it does every single time. I should know that the minute she gets what she wants she will no longer comply with my wishes. And I know she isn't the only child who pulls out the smiles and "yes ma'ams" to get what she wants. (Shhhh Mom, I know ... it is payback) But hell! She should know by now that if I can't get a picture then it might as well not have happened. There needs to be a contract specifying that I will be able to take as many pictures as I like when she is getting what she wants. I had to be satisfied with a really horrible picture to commemorate one of our few mother/daughter outings.

She is now obsessively checking out ebay for feathers. It is SO easy to do ... and I mentioned that if we were going to do it again then I might as well do it myself. She now has the idea that I am going to do her hair and all of her friends' hair ... And if I had the stuff then of course I would happily put feathers in everyone's hair, but I wasn't planning on opening up my own business (which is exactly how Katie interpreted it).

And while Katie and I were out getting her hair done did, Chip took Connor for a much needed haircut. It was even MORE needed after Chip tried to buy one more day by trimming his bangs with kitchen shears... We were headed down to visit his parents and Connor had hair brushing his eyelashes, so he was just trying to make it easier for him to see (I guess).
I am not sure how an actual barber managed to mess his hair up even MORE, but she certainly did. He's three ... he squirms. That is enough of an excuse right there, but apparently she blamed it on his cowlick ... and the color of his hair (it shows everything you know). Luckily, he is still the cutest thing in the world. Hair grows.

Okay ... enough about hair. And I just realized I got off on a tangent. I was going to rant about how I am starting to wonder if being a stay at home mom does more harm than good. (Bear with me)
When I was in fourth grade (I started in 3rd) I rode my bike home from school with my sixth grade brother, or I walked home with my nose buried in a book the whole way (Mrs. Pinson always feared for me), and we were home alone until Mom got off work. We were latchkey kids. And that wasn't a bad thing. It taught us to be self sufficient. It taught us to figure out problems on our own. It taught us to find strength within ourselves. I don't remember ever being scared (except of the Pizza Man, but I told that story long ago). It was a simpler time, and by simpler I mean the bad stuff happened, but you didn't hear about it everyday. We got home and we did our homework, or we sat at the table and did it while Mom made dinner. I don't remember needing constant help and supervision. This might have backfired in a few ways... I don't learn well from others. If I can't teach myself then I will just fail (and fail I have on occasion). I am trying to let myself learn from others. It is a conscious effort to stop myself from shutting the door when someone tries to teach me something. I am trying. It doesn't always work.
I am starting to worry that Katie is relying on me too much. Constant access to me has kept her from learning to rely on herself. It is hard to determine what is actual need of help and what is a need for attention. Then she asks for help, but she is clearly not listening while I try to teach her how to solve a problem on her own. JUST GREAT! She got my refusal to be taught and a double dose of lazy. That poor child needs an intervention or school is just going to get worse. Or maybe she is just staring at me blankly until I give up in frustration and give her the answer. Unluckily for her, my patience is improving.
Am I a helicopter mom?!
Am I the enabler?!
I want to raise confident, secure, self-reliant, and strong children.  I just haven't figured out exactly how to do that yet. Especially not without giving up my super sweet, snuggly babies. This requires a better sense of balance than I seem to possess. But I am working on it. And isn't that all we can do?
Eventually I will teach myself how to be a better parent...don't bother trying to tell me how. I am not that good at accepting help just yet.


Kathleen said...

You said a lot in this blog! Focus on your happiness, figure out what drives you and what will bring you the most joy. Once you figure out that, find out how to achieve it in the best way possible and go after that. Once you get there I bet the rest, the parenting aspect will follow. Kids are very perceptive; more so than we give them credit for. If you become confident, secure and self reliant your kids will follow your lead. xo

rachel whetzel said...

Well if it makes you feel any better, MY mom was a SAHM and I turned out a lot like you... so let's chalk up any short comings you see in your parenting to being human, and chalk up your kid's lack of self sufficiency to personality and "they'll out grow it someday". Now. Pour us a drink.