Sometimes I like to watch those "nanny" shows. You know, where a nanny comes in and teaches parents how to fix their horrible children. It's not that I like the shows in and of themselves; it just makes me feel good to watch them because I can say to myself "I would be a better mother than that", mentally patting myself on the back for a job not done. But when I think about it, that's pretty awful. After all, is that the kind of mother I want to be? Just "better than parents so shitty that professionals had to step in to prevent the kids from becoming kitten torturing sociopaths?" As you may or may not know, my current plan is to go into a PhD program, but if I don't get in to a program, I'm going to have Phillip knock me up and become June Cleaver. But as I get closer to the admissions decision time, the more I worry about being a horrible mother. Being a mother is probably the most important job you can do, and I feel strongly that if you can't do it right, you shouldn't do it at all. Here are some of my concerns about mothering:
1) I am by nature a very protective person. Ask Phillip; he can tell you some horror stories. On the surface, this seems like a good thing. After all, a mother should protect her children. But you don't understand quite what I mean by "protective". I could easily see myself backstage at my child's school play, ripping some little bitch's costume to shreds because she called my kid a name. I worry that I would become "that mom", the one who goes psycho and embarrasses herself and her children. "That kid knocked my kid down!" I would scream as I race toward the frightened eight year old, tackling him to the ground.
2) I am not a soft person. I don't know how to sugar coat things or lie. With kids, you have to say things softly and kindly. If your kid has a horrible idea, you can't just say "that's a horrible idea", you have to say "good try!" or something equally ambiguous. Otherwise the kid becomes an angry psychology major who blames all her problems on you.
3) Apparently, I may have a gluten allergy. Can I really bring a child into the world, knowing that there is a chance she will never eat regular cake? Or donuts? Or Pizza Hut? Because gluten intolerance is genetic, so I COULD pass it down. On top of being a vegetarian our kid will be a little freak and no one will invite her to birthday parties.
4) I'm not sentimental. Recently my sister had to go to my nephew's school to watch a band play. MY NEPHEW WASN'T EVEN IN THE PLAY. She had to go to watch some band comprised of old people play. And everyone was telling her how wonderful it was, and how these moments are so precious blah blah, and I was like "Wait, but your kid wasn't even performing. He was just sitting there watching the musicians. Why did you even bother?" And then I started to panic. Is there something wrong with me? Are you supposed to go watch school assemblies, even if your kid is only a watcher, not a performer? IS that a precious moment? What if I have a kid and say, "yeah, let me know when you're actually doing something and I'll watch it. Because there's no qualitative difference between watching you watch a band and watching you watch TV at home. So yeah...I'll pass" and then the kid climbs up in a clock tower and starts offing everyone with homemade hand grenades? Should I find such events moving and precious? What is missing in my psyche, and more importantly, is there a way I can remedy it before I cause damage to my child?
5)I don't know the rules. I have no sense of what is actually appropriate for a child or teenager. I mean, I know basic things; no porn, no drugs, no theft. But, I have this problem where nothing is bad if it's funny. What if my kids did something really bad, but it was funny? How could I punish them? I honestly don't know if I could... I think I may overcompensate by being crazy strict "Take off that red shirt! Red is a harlot's color!". And in principle I think a parent should be somewhat strict (after all, you can always give in. But it's much harder to make rules after being lax for a long time) I don't want to be crazy about it, which creates whores just as effectively as being too lenient. I think I'll just leave all this to Phillip, actually. It's way too complicated.
6) I have an overindulgent streak. My kids may very well become 300 pounds, simply because I will want to give them food constantly, and will never be able to refuse them anything. Also, I want to give my kids all manner of lessons and toys and craft supplies and really nice clothes and vacations. Growing up poor, I often didn't have much. At all. It sometimes felt like everything I wanted was something I couldn't have, and eventually I just stopped wanting and asking and kind of went dead inside, decided to just get a job as a waitress and stopped planning for college or any kind of bright future. Of course, I snapped out of it after a few years, but I never want my kids to feel that way. Which means I'm going to raise spoiled brat monsters who will appreciate nothing and hate me.
7) Mothers need to be patient. I am impatient.
But there are some bright spots. With Phillip and I for parents, they have a great chance at actually being geniuses. Phillip is a genius, and I'm very bright (though not genius IQ), so I feel with effort and coaching we will have exceptionally gifted children.
Also our kids will have a healthy, stable family. Phil and I have the healthiest relationship in the world, which will create children who have good self esteem, make good decisions and feel nurtured and supported.
While I am far from perfect, I am also a kind person with no major psychological problems. I will, with certainty, be able to avoid all the major forms of child abuse. So will Phillip, but he is a shining paradigm of glowing emotional health, so no one would worry about that. He's like some kind of emotional health guru. He could probably start a religion if he wanted to.
We aren't poor. Our kids will always have enough, though they won't be rich. Unless this blog takes off ;)
I will, it seems, be able to stay at home and raise them. That way I can control the environment in which they are raised and make sure they're getting lots of attention and intellectual stimulation and nutritious food.
With 6 siblings, I have changed more diapers than most mothers. I know how to make a baby stop crying, mix formula, help fix teething pain and all that. So I have a head start!
I have the desire to do it right, which counts for something, I think. I can learn what I don't know already. I am a fast learner, after all.
And if not, there's always adoption agencies.