I’ll be the first to admit, I have no idea how to behave anymore. It seems everywhere is division and contradiction. I was assaulted verbally a few times for being Libertarian, even though, to me, it’s patriotic logic. By every standard, I’m wrong. By every parenting quiz, I am a massive failure. It doesn’t matter whose philosophy I follow, I’m wrong by someone’s standards. Debate is my favorite, as I am I/ENTP – the brainstormer, devil’s advocate – high on ideas, low on execution. It’s nonstop up in this brain, and I love it.
You know what I tell my kids all the time? Everybody poops. Giving birth, I likely pooped in front of doctors, residents, and my husband. You lose a sense of inhibition when you are on a table with your ladybits on display. You gain a sense of humility to realize that you brought life into this world. That your choices, words, and existence affect another human’s life. That is not just for parents, that’s for every person you meet. I find it difficult to feel any sort of shame or embarrassment towards myself or anyone I meet when I picture people pooping. I find it easier to shrug off people’s crap, when I tell myself they’re full of crap.
I said to the kids, after an especially trying morning, this morning – “Guys, you don’t seem to understand how love works. Love is not saying I love you. Love is respect, kindness, and compassion. As you (to my oldest) were screaming shut up at your sister, you have no idea if she did not sleep well last night because she had nightmares, and maybe that is why she is grumpy. As you (to my daughter), are screaming I hate you at your brother, you have no idea if he’s upset because he had a nightmare. When I say I love you to you guys, I am telling you that, as your mom, every drop of blood I have in my body, I would give to you and for you. You learn about Jesus every day, because I send you to Catholic school. I’m not even Catholic anymore, but I want you to learn love. You aren’t acting in love. You are being angry. You have no respect, not even to me, and everything I do is for you. You are not grateful for the things you have, because you don’t understand that everything you have comes from love. From now on, every person you speak to, you think, maybe they had a nightmare, and I need to be nicer to them. Stop flinging your crap around like a bunch of monkeys, it’s ridiculous.”
I also told them that I would, without delay, smash every screen in our home if it doesn’t stop. I’ll kick a hole in the TV, and I’ll smash their Kindles, without hesitation. If I cannot have kindness and respect in our home, I will take every luxury away, until they learn to appreciate that everything is a gift from me to them. Gasp, call CPS, I’m abusing my children! No, actually, I think I’m forcing my children to wake up from their comfy bubble and realize that their behavior has consequences – good or bad. I am all about positive and negative reinforcement – I am equally profusive in my praise as well as asserting consequences for bad choices. “You are NOT a bad person, but you have made a bad choice.” After all of the things I said in our car ride to school, I ended with, “You can screw up in ever way possible, and there is nothing I won’t forgive, and there is nothing that will make me stop loving you. I will never stop teaching you or loving you. Get your butts to school, and have a better day.”
I’m a positive person, which means I view everything as an opportunity to teach or be taught. This doesn’t mean I celebrate when people are shitty, but it does mean that I will not allow shitty behavior to make me stop smiling. Jesus said turn the other cheek, I just tend to think of the wrong cheek….It doesn’t mean that I will allow people to be unkind to me or each other, without asserting myself – eloquently, logically, and compassionately. Being positive, to me, is owning your strength and shining it. Being strong, to me, is slamming your kids into place by challenging them to stop being like everyone else and taking no shit but not returning it, either. Being a woman, to me, is being a source of humble, kindness, and strength with unconditional love, including pooping on a table in front of strangers. I will not allow my children to be sources of hatred and disrespect, not on my time or dime; I have languished under both for too long.
Everybody poops, makes mistakes, can change, and their very humanity deserves respect, kindness, and compassion. If you have a butt, you poop, which makes you no different then me, and my (small but mighty itchy) butt.