Let's face it. Despite the million (perhaps billion) dollar industry into proper parenting and how to be an A+, gluten free, no TV, no devices, always ready, activity boss, no sleep, always awesome parent whose kid kicks ass, smells good, has clean clothes, uses their manners and never questions your authority - I've yet to find a rule-book on parenting.
Honest truth? This sh*t is hard. And, despite my many down-on-my-knees prayers, I don't think it will be getting any easier as my kids age. The game never stops. The rules simply evolve. And much like healthcare, we are living in a reactive reality. There is no proactive habit here. Because we, as parents, are not calling the shots anymore. Our power is gone. Because of these adorable little bundles of joy. They are so cute and cuddly at first, stealing our hearts and filling us with love. And then, they use that love against us. As a stranglehold on our relationship they manipulate their way into the highest levels of power in the kid ecosystem and dangle it relentlessly in front of us like a mule to a carrot.
My kids are training to be prizefighters. They dance around each other like a modern day Ali, flaunting what they have to the other, begging them to take action. My daughter, just the other day, kijacked my son's favorite (of the day) car, and proudly put it on display as she cavorted around the living room, taunting my distressed son into action.
*Cue the whistle* - Personal Foul- unsportsmanlike conduct - 15 minutes in time out, automatic loss of snack.
"Kids!! - What are you doing??!" Is often the cry heard around my house. What once was a sane and normal play activity suddenly erupts into a territory dispute worse than the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons.
How did it come to this. I used to be this kid. And now I'm the adult? And, as choices have it, I've got another little one to add to the mix. 50% ownership is now reduced to 33% - I can't wait to see how this plays out.
I was trained in this life as a player of the game and now I'm forced to be the referee.
There is no training for that.
To all you inherited refs out there-good luck, make the best call, don't be afraid to review the tape, and hang in there- you're not alone!