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Monday, March 22, 2010

Random Mediocre Thoughts

subtitled Cuz I'm Random. And Mediocre.

There are so many things I should be writing about today, like the fact that yes, the Snowy Pile of What-Not melted last week, only I forgot to tell y'all that. Because I am, of course, forgetful. As I mentioned last week. I promised a prize to the one who came the closest to the Total Meltdown Day (er... the snow, not me) and I shall deliver. Kim K. came the closest, edging out Wanda by just a smidge, with her guess of March 17th (actual Total Meltdown Day of March 15). Kim, I need an address and then a present you shall receive.

Don't expect greatness though. I aim for mediocrity.

(I'm just preparing your crafty self. Cuz we all know I ain't crafty.)

I also promised to show y'all a Headless Fashion Show after my recent pseudo What Not To Wear experience, only Dory had surgery last week, so I have no one to take photos at the moment. And I can't exactly manage it myself. For obvious reasons. And the Husband didn't seem too thrilled with THAT two hour project (I can't imagine why not!). And most of my real life friends don't actually know *cough, cough* about this blog, so I can't ask THEM. So be patient, y'all, and it will happen... sometime. And please remember that I simply went from Total Shlumpadinka to Normal Mom Clothes.

In other words, don't expect greatness or anything.

And I'm sad because our beloved Terrapins from the University of Maryland staged a Comeback of Major Proportions during the NCAA tournament yesterday. Only they lost during the final 0.4 seconds of the game. Heart! Break! Despite my state of mourning, I must admit that they probably didn't deserve to win, since they played terribly until the last quarter. AND they wore the! most! atrocious! uniforms! ever!, so they DEFINITELY didn't deserve to win if you take THAT into account.

I expected greatness from them, but...

(And those uniforms? My husband once painted his home office that color. Seriously. The neighbors called it The McDonald's Room. But thankfully that room is now The Panda Room, with no yellow in sight. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.)

I could blame my randomness and mediocrity on the loss, but the truth is that I haven't been able to organize my thoughts all that much because I'm a tad discouraged. Sometimes it's difficult being the mom of THAT child. You know the type of child I'm talking about... the child who, eight times out of ten, will make the wrong choice, take the hard road. She will hit at age six and sass constantly and test boundaries over and over. And over.

This weekend was a difficult one.

Especially since others often judge me by the behavior of my child, assuming that I am not as strict as they are... or not as good of a parent... or not intentional... or whatever. The truth? I'm actually the mom that friends and acquaintances often call for parenting advice. Because they know I won't judge; I have creative discipline ideas; I'm even more strict than most of them; I've probably been there, done that; and - even if *I* can't figure it out - Tonggu Grammy is only a phone call away.

People expect greatness from her, definitely.

But they don't of me. Because they observe or hear about the behavior of the Tongginator and they judge. A lot. I try to take it all in stride because they just don't know what it's like to parent a strong-willed child... one who drifts in and out of actual oppositional defiance, who makes the wrong choice repeatedly despite consistent and ever-increasing consequences. They don't know what it's like to navigate the world of sensory processing disorder. They don't know what it's like to parent a child that is gifted. (Seriously. Asynchronious development is really tough to navigate.)

I know I'm whining. I'm sorry. I tend to get like this when I feel judged. And right now? I'm feeling judged by some. Not the ones who love me the most, of course... not by God nor the Husband nor Tonggu Grammy nor most of my close friends and family.

And definitely not by the Tongginator. Not after she gave me this little gem on Friday.

Just makes your heart melt, doesn't it? Goodness, I love this little gal, wrong choices and all. That and a Beautiful Blogger Award from Cavatica definitely helped me feel better this past week. (Thanks, Cavatica!)

So... when was the last time y'all felt judged as a parent? Cuz I'm thinking we've probably all been here.


Anonymous said...

I have mostly stopped talking to other moms about my kids. Because every single time I do, I come across something in conversation that makes me feel judged. Parents who practice Attachment Parenting make me feel like all my kids' problems are because I give them too much independence. Ferber parents make me feel like I'm way over-indulging because I let them sleep in bed with us when they were infants. And on it goes ... no matter what you do, someone, somewhere is going to criticize you, and the only good thing that comes out of it for me is that it has (hopefully) made me a kinder, less judgmental person myself.

Because I have learned that no matter how it looks on the outside, for the most part, we really are all just doing our best.

And you can't ask for more than that.

Or at least, you shouldn't.

The Source said...

I know how you feel, my friend, and it sure can be painful. I'm pretty sure my parenting skills are judged on a daily basis. I also find myself judging others and their kids...a lot more often than I should, actually.

This week? I find I'm judging myself and my husband and questioning what we've been doing for the past 20 years. I thought we were doing a beautiful job. Now? I'm really not so sure. What if everything we try so hard to teach them...every ounce we pour into them...every prayer we cling to...what if it doesn't matter?

What if they seem to grow up to be exactly what you hoped they'd be? And then they screw it all up? Is it our fault? Or there's?

And if it was something WE did wrong in our parenting...how can we change it quickly so that the rest of our children don't make the same mistake?

LucisMomma said...

I've been reading a book called Strong-Willed or Dreamer? by Braund and Spears. We have 2 dreamers, maybe 3 dreamer kids! (We only have 3 kids. I am definitely in the dreamer category--this book totally explains me as nothing else has before.) In addition to the asynchronious development, and adoption issues going on, your little Tongginator sounds like a dreamer. Wonderful kid you've got!

And the last time I felt like a failure as a parent? Last night as I was comforting Dreamer #1.

LucisMomma said...

oops--you said "judged as a parent"--not failure--that was Saturday as I met with a bunch of homeschool moms. My kids are never ever as well-read, as compliant, as good at math, as well-behaved (you name ANYthing related to school and raising kids) as their kids. But still felt like "failure parent" after being judged.

Aus said...

Last time I was judged as a parent...humm....has it been 5 minutes yet? ;) Yeah - don't get me started or I'll take off on the tangent that because our youngest 3 are adopted people feel 'freer' (is that a word?) to provide unsolicited advice? That because our kids 'needs' are invisible then they must not have any?

Ya'll just keep on doing what you're doin' - kids that write notes like that KNOW what's the truth of the matter - and it's not whining if it's true...venting maybe....but not whining!

hugs - aus and co.

autumnesf said...

Oh honey the stories I could tell. But I can't cause relatives know about my blog. LOL!

And what's worse than the judgment? How about having so many adults waiting on the edge of their seats for your kids to make any large mistake because they have to be damaged with as strict as we are. Literally hoping my children will fail.

And then when they are bailing their kids out of jail and other tragic things...I can't even offer a shoulder to cry on or any support because they would take offense and are so afraid I'm judging their child.

I can't win.

So I don't try.

I'm raising my children to be productive members of society -- however I have to with each one. That will be the true test of my parenting...and takes 20 years to get to.

happygeek said...

I am raising two strong-willed kids and that is tough enough (throw in the other stuff and I'd be ready to throw in the towel.)
My "favorite" time of judging was when Spud had a complete and total meltdown in a mall. TOTAL. I had to walk the entire length of the mall with him sorta strapped into the front of the double stroller and colicky sprout losing it in the back of the double stroller.
Our social circle is still pretty small so I am limited in the judging I receive. (It pays to be a recluse) but I do know this parenting gig can take it out of you, let alone being judged by others who Do.Not.Have.A.Clue.

Georgia Peach said...

I can well attest to the "I am actually the mom other moms call for advice" as I have sat on the receiving end of your advice on more than one occasion.

Especially during the early years when I realized that my first born daughter is as strong-willed as her parents (oh what a frightening realization that was!).

Big Apple and I attended a dinner party at your house and my child screamed through the ENTIRE MEAL. THE ENTIRE MEAL!! There was nothing wrong with her she just felt contrary that night and so she screamed. In the early days of parenting our "strong-willed" child, we left many dinner parties with our heads hung low. But dinner at your house was different
because that night every parent silently agreed that we would all suffer through dinner for the sake of teaching my toddler that there are limits.

Not sure if we taught that precept to Papple, but Big Apple and I were encouraged to stand our ground that night. And we were grateful for a small group of parents who were so dogonne supportive of what we were trying to do.


blackbelt said...

I stopped talking about parenting, too. ESPECIALLY because I have a special needs child. I have to know that someone is going to 'get it,' and if I sense one tiny bit of resistance, I stop. Oh and I find the ones that have the judgment? Oh how they change when they find out THEIR kids have special needs.

By the way, TM, this is a GREAT series on a parenting philosophy/technique, many of which I used with Boo. Takes away the combat and teaches responsibility:

Anonymous said...

Yeah. It's always worst for me when we're back in the US, and people look at my kids and think they're "normal" Americans but they're struggling with jet lag and reverse culture shock, etc.
Sorry you're going through a rough patch. I want to tell you to NOT CARE what other people think, people who really have no clue as to what your parenting is like, but I know that doesn't really help.

blackbelt said...

Wow that article about gifted kids was really glass half full!! My husband and I were both in the Gifted Program (IQ over 130) and we saw very little of what is described. The one general problem we had was others expecting us to be MATURE. Smart /= Mature.

Patricia/NYC said...

As a fellow parent to a child with "asynchronious development", I can completely sympathize with you!!!

OH, the looks! The little shakes of the head (& not in the "yes" direction)...sometimes I also get the smiles that say, "oh she's so cute you're being too hard on her"...just as bad as "the looks"...it's tough...very tough, & I am so very hard on myself too...sigh...but we ARE all doing the very best we can!

I soooo wish we lived closer...I would LOVE to chat with you about this in detail over coffee of course!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I avoid judgment by locking myself and my children in our home and letting them duke it out... half joking there. ;-) And don't worry... I was the strong-willed child. It took me a LONG time but I turned out okay.

Myrnie said...

1) Vent to someone to get a little air circulating around my thoughts.
2) Search, ponder, and pray.
3) Realize God gave me these kids for a reason, spend a few days at home getting everyone settled down.
4) Avoid talking to people who make me feel like garbage. (At least for a little while.)

Good luck. For what it's worth, I think you're doing a great job :)

Jill C. said...

There will never be a shortage of people willing to judge you especially if you are the parent of an occasionally unruly child.

I hope people don't think I judging them when I'm really just thinking to myself "But for the grace of God go I"

Also people tend to project their fears onto others to try to convince themselves that they have a sense of control.

Love the blog and especially the Sunday linkage. Thanks much!

Michal said...

I had a hard row to hoe after we came home from China with Ev. The person that judged me the most was my Mother! It has taken years for her to see that we are not "mean and thoughtless".
Ev is a tought cookie. She is smart and bright and hates being a kid. She is everything good and sweet that a little girl can be- AS LONG AS WE STAY ON TOP OF HER. Truly, if we loosen up, before you know it she is in an utter fit of badmouthing, being spiteful and just plain bad. Really. She is so good most times that people think we are over the top when it comes to how we deal with her. Like I tell her once, if there's no compliance there has to be a consequence right then and there ( and I am not talking about spanking). It's funny because the only people who really have a chance to see how we parent, is family. So yeah we are judged by family- alot. It's tough. Thankfully I have my husband who reminds me constantly that we are doing fine, that we do what works for HER. Just remember that, you do what the Tongginator needs, so great..
I feel your mediocrity pain. I feel like Salieri
( Amadaeus much? He calls himself the Patron Saint of Mediocrity) on the good days! The bad days? Well, I don't have a movie reference for those days.

Carla said...

see this is why I love reading blogs. I actually begin to feel normal as a parent. I am SO THERE WITH YOU. {HUG}

Buckeroomama said...

Those are such sweet words from the Tongginator. :) Forget (at least try to) what other people might say or think; they are not in your shoes. Why validate their 'judgment' by worrying or feeling bad about it?

Colleen said...

whoo hooo a headless fashion show...my favorite kind : P

Annie said...

You know what I have found to be most judged on??? Having FIVE kids and thinking about a 6th!!!! People act like THEY are the ones taking care of our kids!! Sheesh!! If YOU aren't the one taking care of them and raising them and paying for them, then why in the world would you judge us for loving 5 kids and wanting to love another???? I just don't get some people! Sorry to go off on a tangent there! Can you tell it bothers me?????

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, how about...every time I travel with my kiddos? There was the trip to Seattle two summers ago where Ming Wai wanted to roam the aisle, and earned my disapproving looks. THEN she saw the door and demanded to be Let. Out. NOW!! Nevermind that we were two miles over South Dakota. Didn't faze her.

Or whenever I take Siu Jeun out and let him roam. At playgrounds, I figure if he can climb it, he can play on it. He can't climb high enough to hurt himself! So, when he fell off a bridge at the playground last week...you should have SEEN the looks I got. I was just laughing - he fell three feet onto a foot of wood chips. He bounces.

(Defensive much?)

Hang in there, Mama. We're your sounding board!!!

Cavatica said...

Ha! Judged... today I was given two time outs - in a row, by my daughter. Harrumph! I admit to whining through the first. My parenting error? Not listening. I try... I do. The child is tough. We stayed in all day (she's been sick), so no outside judgment for me today.

I have to admit, when I see parents struggling with children being difficult and they are doing their best... I say, "good job." I hate to see that judgment from strangers and I do my best not to give it to others.

And... you're welcome.

Sharie said...

Tell someone your 5-year-old still sleeps with you - then just wait!

There are several reasons why we co-sleep. The main reason being that when we do, she doesn't have night terrors. My choices are #1, get no sleep because she is screaming all night, or #2 get no sleep because she is a wild sleeper. I'll take #2 thanks!

Someday I pray my little one will be secure enough to sleep on her own again (she did till age 3). Right now, she is not.

BTW - I feel like just reading your blog somedays gives me the courage to face another day as a parent - so obviously you're doing something right:)

Wanda said...

(Awh....close, but no cigar.)

Sending you a hug and ditto to all the good advice here.

Mahmee said...

Ho boy. As a first time parent, an adoptive parent, a middle-aged parent....I get judged on every little thing it seems. And I say without hesitation...people can just kiss my big fat(ter as I age) behind. As you know from our discussions, R has sensory issues and extreme energy too. She also fits the gifted child profile (which is why we are sending her to a creative learning preschool in the fall). She (as much as I love her to pieces) is completely exhausting....something my mother and best friend attest to as they have babysat her. She requires a little 'more focused' parenting approach. I'm just not willing to compromise what I know to be good for her...as you aren't either. I think we just have to stick together and support each other. You take care.

Patty O. said...

Oh, heck, I could write posts and posts about feeling judged as a mom (and in fact, I have written several; I could still write more!) It happens on what seems like a near-constant basis. And it is really disheartening.

Parenting a kid with special needs has definitely made me much more aware of others' judgement (and my sometimes tendency to do a bit of judging myself). I have tried to remember that those judging probably have major insecurities themselves. Those who are completely secure in themselves don't tend to judge, I have found.

And their time is coming. Someday their kid is going to do something to mortify them, too--it's a law of nature or something. And then they may understand a bit.

Personally, I was shocked to read this post, because to me, you seem like a superb mother. Not only do you handle really difficult issues (like racism) with absolute grace, you really challenge T to be a better person and to think of others. You seem to be constantly thinking of how best to teach certain principles. And you are so dang humble. You educate her on her roots, both Chinese and American and you handle all the sticky adoption questions with humor and patience. I think you are an excellent mom, if that means anything.

Suzy said...

Ummm: Every day, and some times that judgement comes inside my own house. Some times I even judge myself. But being a bonafide slacker, I cut myself a little slack. I suggest you do the same ; ) for yourself. I already got myself covered.

Krista said...

I can SO relate (to feeling judged). And to feeling frustrated after a hard week.

And I'd LOVE to pick your brain sometime! You always share such great ideas, links, books, etc!

Red Sand said...

I certainly hope that paper is now framed!

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

We visited relatives over the weekend that we handn't seen in a LONG time (they'd never met our kids). Keep in mind our kids had been in the car off and on for the better part of 2 days. Are you sensing their hyperness? "The family"'s kids were of course perfectly well behaved, while my kids bounced around like they were on crack, and frequently did not listen. . .Hubs was embarrassed. Not an overall pleasant experience. . .but I do know, deep down, that my kids are good kids. They are trying at times and downright difficult at other times, but they are good kids, who love and experience life at full-speed. (Just as I imagine the T does.)

Love Letters To China said...

I know all too well your pain. I feel judged constantly by others (or maybe it's me judging myself). My daughter is quite a handful too. She has sensory issues left and right. The strange thing is she is viewed as the "perfect" child in school. It's like she has an alter ego. When she's in school she is quiet to the point of shy, attentive and well behaved. When she climbs into my car at the end of the day, the crazy child appears. I think she has held all of it in during the day, she just needs to explode. The only problem is mommy starts to explode too. Not terribly proud of those moments.

It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job at raising your daughter. Don't be so hard on yourself. Furthermore, who honestly cares what others might be thinking? The only thing that matters is the way you feel about yourself along with your family and friends.

Dita said...

OH yeah, Baby....been there STILL doin' that.
WonderBoy is my BoyWonder but he tests me every single day. I also feel judged by others a lot however, I have found that just constantly staying on top of his choices....good and bad, at school and keeping an ongoing dialogue with the teachers and the principal and aids really has gone a long way. They actually THANK me for checking in regularly and they send me a sheet home every day (I'm talking 5th grade, TM) where each teacher in each period writes me a little note.
Nope, its not always good....heck, who am I kiddin' good is a rarity but everyday we start fresh again here.

WonderBoy has many issues and ODD is one of the most difficult to deal with in his bag of tricks. Some days I feel defeated but its days that I receive his variation of that note that the Tongginator wrote about her amazing mom that make it all worthwhile.

Keep on truckin', TM....you are not alone and you are an incredible Mom....don't ever forget that!


The Gang's Momma! said...

GO ORANGEMEN! Rockin' the house with the SU!

Natalie said...

I can sympathize a bit. I constantly feel judged for Hannah's behavior. Darn that SPD and like you also said, the asynchronis development that comes along with giftedness. It doesn't help that Hannah both looks and sounds like she's a few years older than her current age of 3 1/2 so even when she's acting typical for her age I often get dirty looks b/c they think she's 5 or 6 and acting that way. Who knows, she may very well be acting that same way when she's 6, but at least for now it's age appropriate and I'd appreciate a break. I'm sure you know what I mean. Sorry things have been rough around your parts lately. You'll all be in my prayers.

anymommy said...

All the time. And I've gotten better at dealing with it, but I can't say it's gotten easier. XO.