In my ideal world…

Self care for mental health would be taught all the way through high school with a full year being focused on how to deal with parenting since most of the population ends up parenting. I wish there were classes that taught about different parenting styles and why they are valid. Some people make authoritarian parenting work pretty well. I can’t. That doesn’t make it invalid nor my parenting style invalid.

I wish that kids spent high school learning about how complex the body really is. Having frank discussions about how confusing sexuality is. Learning that no one is “normal” and it’s ok to be into what you are into. How do you negotiate in a way that treats the person you are negotiating with like an autonomous human being instead of a piece of meat? How do you learn how to even tell what you are into vs what you are willing to tolerate because you want to be near this person so much?

I wish that there were long frank discussions about how shitty parenting is. Kids are assholes. Kids don’t give a shit about your boundaries and needs and how in the fuck are you going to manage that? There are lots of ways to approach this topic. There are lots of methods that work in the world that wouldn’t work for me.

I wish most people had to read Montessori and Holt and Maslow and Frankl and Piaget among many others. I wish that school taught the ability to evaluate yourself. The ability to evaluate yourself is one of the most important abilities you will need in life.

I think people should evaluate if they are doing well at parenting before deciding to have more children. If you aren’t handling the kid(s) you have, don’t have more. That’s a harsh opinion.

Yeah I think that kids deserve harsh evaluation. I think every child is that important. I pick quality over quantity.

I’m NOT SAYING that all people of a certain group, whether defined by disability, race, sexual orientation, wealth, or whatever…. shouldn’t have children. I’m not saying that at all. I am not saying that the government should be empowered to evaluate if people are good enough and sterilize them.

I’m not advocating for eugenics.

I’m saying that people should evaluate themselves and decide if this shitty job is one they really want to keep doing.

I love it. I love it more than the other shitty jobs I’ve had. I don’t believe I’ll ever have a non-shitty job. I know it’s a shitty job. But it’s one I want really badly.

I don’t think you should do things that are this hard unless you really really want to and you are able to do a good job at it.

Why? Because of how many traumatized people there are in this world. That doesn’t have to be true. There could be far fewer.

Yeah. That’s harsh.

But what does it mean to do a good job at parenting? Christ I don’t know. People evaluate on different levels. How physically competent someone is. How good a child is at adapting and conforming and learning. How much money someone grows up to make. How many years of therapy are necessary to keep from going postal…

There are a lot of metrics!

The metric I am shooting for is that I hope when my children are 30 they will want to be friends with me. That’s rather a low bar in the scheme of things.

My kids aren’t universally advanced and I would probably feel uncomfortable if they are. They are uncommonly verbal… but that’s because they have more opportunity to talk than average. *shrug* My kids aren’t smarter or more physically skilled than other kids.

They just glow with knowing that they are ok and they are where they are supposed to be today on their path.

That’s like, the thing I have really been able to teach. It’s confusing to me.

Let me tell you I’m not going to be the parent to teach physical prowess. We went to the park to play catch this week. That was fucking hilarious. I think we collectively caught approximately 10% of the balls.

And who fucking cares? We laughed the whole time. We had a lot of fun. It was funny. It wasn’t like when I was a kid and people would get angry at me and shout at me that I was pathetic because I wasn’t coordinated.

It was just… relaxed.

We aren’t playing catch because our future worth depends on our baseball star status. We were playing catch because it is a way to work on hand eye coordination and fill some time not sitting on our butts. Being bad at it is ok.

I seek out so much outside opinion on my parenting because I don’t even trust myself to evaluate that I’m doing well. Surely I’m the worst parent ever. I’m such a shitty person no other truth is possible. But I am also aware that I’m not so good at perceiving positives about myself. So I ask for outside opinions.

I get negative commentary on my parenting. When it is from people close to our lives who know me and my kids… I try to understand where the criticism is coming from and incorporate the lessons from it into my parenting. I’m better at talking to my kids now than I was because friends have commented on how awful some phrasings were.

Don’t worry… I’m fucking my kids up even as I’m doing some things right. It’s god damn inevitable.

But I think my kids are going to be fucked up in ways they will figure out how to cope with. I think they are going to be moderately fucked up and only inconvenienced by their degree of fucked up instead of needing 30+ years of intensive therapy with periodic skills classes and periods of intense study to try and deal with problems.

As my daughter likes to say… Generationally we are improving… she might not fuck her kids up at all!

Or maybe our line will die out and that’s cool too.

I love you. You are fucked up. I could list the ways and a lot of the reasons but it would feel unfriendly. I don’t mean it in an unfriendly way though. I mean that I see you. I see you as this complex messy person and I love you very much for your flaws and for the ways you are cool. I hope you see me. I hope you see that I am a flaming fucking asshole and a really caring person. I hope you see that I am a good parent and a shitty parent and I don’t deserve to be crucified or praised.

I hope you can love me anyway. I hope you can see that there is worth and value in me even on days when I don’t see it in me.

I see it in you even on the days you don’t see it.

I don’t see this judgment as being different from love. And yeah, I guess that is harsh.

2 thoughts on “In my ideal world…

  1. Valia

    When I was in my late teens-early 20’s, I was positive I would have 2-4 kids. I wanted at least 1 boy & 1 girl (and I’d stop there if I got those as the first 2 kids), partially to see whether or not I would end up raising them differently. The spacing was even worked out. Kid 2 would come around after Kid 1 was 2 y/o. Kid 3 would be when Kid 2 was 5 y/o & Kid 4 would be when Kid 3 was 2 y/o. Kids 1 & 4 would be approximately 10 years apart … and the ideal was to have each one walking, talking & potty trained before I had the next one.

    I worked with teens (developmentally disabled), kids & babies from 1984-1996. By the time I was 26 – I had decided that kids were NOT the best idea for me to have, or be working with. I noticed that my patience was low & my anger was high more often that not. From that time on, whenever I was asked when I was going to have kids, I had 1 answer. “Until I can guarantee that I will NOT toss the kid over the balcony after it’s been screaming for 2 hours straight … I should NOT have kids.”

    Unfortunately, that answer didn’t satisfy some annoying medical professionals when I was 34 … they spent 15 minutes lecturing me on all of the health benefits of being pregnant & having babies … and were not willing to accept my decision to be child-free without a fight. I finally said “If you thought someone would abuse a child, would you encourage that person to become a parent?” … the looks of shock on their faces after they parsed that comment were priceless….but it was the last time they ever tried to lecture me on reproduction again.

    1. Krissy Gibbs Post author

      I think that sounds like an incredibly sensible and responsible way to process this decision. Parenting isn’t for everyone. It’s a shitty job. I’m glad we live in a time and place where it has not been forced upon you.

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