Welcome back friends. I hope everyone had a peaceful, happy Thanksgiving.
This week's post covers the vignettes woods through racists. Melanie Speros will be writing next week's post on questions through conflicts. We're winding down and on track to complete the book at the end of the year. At that time, we'll figure out if we want to do an Untamed live zoom. I think it would be wonderful. More on that later.
I am a cream cheese parent..yes, I am. But for me it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with either grape or strawberry jelly. It was also peanut butter and honey sandwiches, for the kids who didn’t like jelly. It was plain peanut butter. And plain jelly for the kids with nut allergies. On bread both white and wheat. There were juice boxes and Clementine oranges, pre-peeled. One of each—sandwich, juice box, orange—was placed into a gallon size ziplock bag along with a napkin. I carefully marked each bag with what it contained and filled up the cooler.
You bet your ass I wanted to look better than the other moms—especially those moms who ran into the store on the way to practice, bought the giant bag of individually packaged chips, and then threw it on the bench. Lame. I wanted to outshine those moms and in so doing help my daughter and me to shine in the eyes of the other kids and parents. Not knowing which kid liked what, I made way more than was necessary. Enough to feed several siblings and bring leftovers home.
The reactions from the other parents ran the gamut: a sincere thank you from the mom who didn’t know how she was going to make time for food between the day’s various appointments and practices to the eye rolls that said, “Really? Just who do you think you are?”
I’m all that and more.
I’m a cream cheese mom. Or, that’s who I was anyway.
Now. I’m not saying I turned my kid into an asshole. Although there have been times when she’s exhibited asshole-like behavior. I think we can all relate to that. And I know I have no one to blame for this but myself (and, to a slightly lesser extent, my husband.) We were very fond of saying yes to almost everything. My daughter grew up much the same way I did: many yeses and far too few nos. I just wrote about this very thing in my memoir manuscript. Now that she is a senior in college and has been exposed to students from a wide variety of backgrounds, she understands much better how lucky she was and is. I love seeing this maturation in her. And yes, sometimes she still asks for far too much, but that is to be expected. I'm getting better at no, but still have a long way to go.
I was an asshole. I hope I’m less of one now. I’ve been working at it anyway, and for several years. I love Glennon’s point in this cream cheeses section that the memo needs to be revised to read that successful parenting is about making sure all kids have enough. I can’t even imagine what our world would look like if every child knew in their soul that they would always have enough. I think it would be beautiful indeed. But it would require a major shift in our collective thinking. Can we do it? I don't know.
This section also made me think that the memos need an addendum, with instructions for it not to be opened until new parents are at least able to sleep through the night. Maybe even later than that. But not too late. The addendum should read that we will be tempted to mother like a laser, but warn of the pain of that type of mothering. The pressure! How uncomfortable for our children and for us. Making wiser decisions will help everyone.
Five flavors of cream cheese is about YOU. Not your kid. No one needs 5 flavors of cream cheese! No one!
Get your ass in therapy and figure your shit out NOW so you and your kid(s) don’t grow into assholes together.
As to Glennon's section on racists. We could do an entire year or five working on untangling the messages and learning we've had around racism. Suffice it to say here that I plan on re-reading this section many times because it contains valuable learning. We have to start somewhere, and being quiet while we're learning is one of the most valid things I've read this year related to white women and racism.
What stuck out to you about these sections of the book?
Next week: Melanie on questions through conflict.