Dear Kids: An Open Apology to My Children

yelling cartoon mom2

Dear Kids,

I helped bring two perfect beings into this world with the best of intentions. Those beings would be the two of you. You’re awesome kids, lots of work, but still awesome nonetheless. Your personalities are super fun and unique to you. I cannot tell you how cool that is for me. When you both were born, I had no clue whatsoever regarding motherhood or what it entailed. Back then my biggest worry was how to carry your infant bodies without dropping you and how to change a diaper without it falling off. I still believe that most people should not have kids, myself no exception. Luckily, the decision to populate the earth does not lie solely with me.

You came built-in with a long list of challenges that I was in no way prepared to deal with. Yeah, I read a bunch of books but books are useless when it comes to raising a kid. I cannot understand why anyone would even bother writing them. How-to-parenting books are the height of stupidity. I remember the time we were trying to toilet train one of you. We read several well-intended books on the subject that made it sound as easy as forcing endless liquids down your throat and holding you hostage in the bathroom until you went. Didn’t work at all so we sat there for untold amounts of time like complete idiots, waiting you out. Still didn’t work. I cursed the asshole who wrote the book. You eventually mastered it in your own good time with no interference or pressure from your silly parents. Wish I had back the time I spent on that useless endeavor.

Another one of you came wired with a pessimistic view of the world and all the people in it. Oh God no! I feared the worst, that nothing would ever make you happy and that you were destined to be a “glass half-empty” kind of kid. I tried this thing called mood modulation, a made up term meaning that I gently tried to point out all the positive while you were throwing around the negative like a spaghetti-crazed toddler at dinner time. My strategy was ineffective.

One day I decided to quit doing what I was doing and decided that your mood was not my problem. I stopped taking it on because if there is ever a best time for learning that we are 100% responsible for our emotional states, now was it. Easier said than done, you betcha, but what better lesson than to model the behavior of not hooking into your mood and enmeshing as if we weren’t two separate people. What good did that ever do anyone?

You see, up till this point, I took on all your hurt, anguish, anxiety, and general unhappiness until I became so unhappy and disillusioned that I lost all the best parts of myself and was reduced to an angry, resentful mother who yelled a lot about the injustices of my plight to a chorus of people who could care less. Your Dad got an earful on a regular basis. I didn’t want to be that person so I had to change.

I started doing a lot of painful self-work, exploring the deepest recesses of my mind and soul and getting to the source of where my inadequacies lay. I modeled said self-work even as one of you snickered at me both to my face and behind my back. It’s OK, I get how uncool it is for a teenager to witness their mom’s morning meditation routine. At first, I didn’t think it was making any difference at all until one day I realized that it did. It wasn’t perfect but it was enough to make me want to stick with it. I became better though I realized that no one in the house really noticed because my past mistakes were already firmly imprinted upon your impressionable young minds. If that is the case, I choose to be OK with it.

I am sorry for all the mistakes I made as your mother, every single one. I cannot change any of them and I will no longer spend time wishing I could. I am sorry for my insecurities and anxieties and all the times I foisted them upon you, making you fearful and scared. I am sorry for my inability to sometimes censor myself in your presence because you weren’t equipped to process all the adult themes spoken in your presence. In my defense, I will say that many of those times, I didn’t realize that you were within earshot, hanging onto my every word. I never thought that anyone could find me so fascinating, let alone young-ens like yourselves so I just didn’t think to look around every corner to make sure that you weren’t lurking before indulging in my rants. Boy oh boy did you two get an earful at times. I grew up in a house where everything was hush-hush so this was quite a departure. I felt lots of tension between my parents as a child but was never permitted to know what it was about. I thought my way was so much better but I now realize that neither extreme works very well. My bad.

I am sorry for my penchant for swear words, especially the F word. I say it a lot in your presence. I grew up in a house where we weren’t allowed to say “shut-up”, never mind dammit or hell. The F word wasn’t even on the household radar though I said it a lot under my breath. I don’t know, maybe it was being so profanity oppressed that attracted me wholeheartedly to swearing. I can honestly tell you that I love it like a hobby. That sounds pretty bad but it’s true. Strangely enough, I was not allowed to swear and ended talking like a sleep deprived truck driver while you guys have a built-in aversion to swearing. I call this the Ozzy Effect and you’re welcome. Inadvertently, a job well done!

Maybe I‘m not so bad after all. There has to be some things I did right. But since this is an apology, I won’t go there. The truth is that I never intended to hurt you, and I certainly never set out to fuck up as much as I have but worrying over causing you irreparable damage seems counterproductive. I love you with all my heart and soul. My loyalty to you both knows no bounds. I have lived life with you in the muddy trenches and life is messy. I am guilty of being messy too.



Published in That Odd Mom