Oct 18, 2012


Sometimes I feel an external pressure that I don't make great enough efforts to preserve my child's innocence. 

In some circumstances, like when it comes to TV, I have been conciously making an effort to change the channel before Spongebob ends and Victorious, or any other teen dramedy begins and sucks him into the cool zone.  Yesterday, I made a quick switch from Nickelodeon to National Geographic just in time for Shane to witness the dramatization of a mysterious river monster pulling a bathing toddler under to his demise.

Did you ever notice how much lying is required in order to preserve a child's innocence? Take Santa Claus, for example.  Why do we give all the credit away for our love and creativity, no to mention hard-earned dollars spent?  And don't even get me started on the Elf on the Shelf. 
Too late.  We got one as a gift.  This elf is supposed to move to a different location in the house every night so in the morning your kids think he is returning to the North Pole to report to Santa on their behavior.  First of all, this is psychotic behavior management.  Second of all, who remembers to move this thing every night?

After I put the kids to bed, I can't even remember my name half the time.  I tried to show Shane how they are sold in boxes at Target, asked him how they could be sold at Target if they were magical and from the North Pole.  He has his reasons still, but when it all blows up at least I can say that I tried.

They are all going to realize at some point that its a sham.  What will they think of us then?  How will we explain the great lengths we've gone to convince them of something that we know isn't true?

That, and I'm a bad liar.  And keeping up the charade is not where I want to invest my energy as a parent.

When Shane asks a question, it doesn't occur to me to make up an answer because it may be more age-appropriate than the truth.  And, can I play this card again?  His baby sister died.  I could not protect him from that, or from seeing his mother's pain and despondency.  He witnessed the tension in the home before Dad moved out.  He took it all in while we were elbow-deep in our own egos, fighting over who should make the calzones.

When I got the phone call that I didn't qualify for the home loan modification, I cried, and I didn't lie about why.  I always add that we have plenty of everything we need, and will always.  I don't want to burden him with adult problems.  I just think that I'm kidding myself if I brush him off when its clear that he has already picked up what I've been throwing down.

And now that he is starting first grade,  I am overwhelmed for so many reasons, but I feel like I'm expected to shove my anxieties deep down, to keep a brave face for him.  I do think there is some merit to that logic.  I know kids take their cues from us about whether or not a situation is safe, and I want him to take any confidence he can from my sure countenance.

I just wonder, what if we stopped pretending to have it all together in front of our kids?  What if we admit to ourselves that our kids witness things in our behavior that we'd like to protected them from?

Like, when we completely lose our shit (it happens), we accept this piece of ourselves, apologize, and set an example of how to bounce back from a tantrum?

Maybe if we allowed ourselves the full range of emotions,  instead of protecing children from our feelings, we would show them that it is safe to feel what they are feeling.  Moreso, that paying attention to our feelings can help us solve problems and lead us to better situations.

What if our children didn't feel hushed for their inquiries into territories we deem as inappropriate for them?  My belief is that our children would grow more comfortable in their own skin, more comfortable with us, and more comfortable here on the planet.  Just plain more comfortable.  ok?


  1. Love,Love,Love❤ i have been waiting for a new post and once again, you have truely inspired me. Xo

  2. I have a friend who gives all the presents from "mom" or "dad" and santa just brings one big one. I thought that was a good idea. Then santa doesn't get all the credit. We didn't do that in my house growing up...

  3. A six year old doesn't need to know about Mom's money problems! Learn to keep adult things to yourself; it will help your child be a child what he deserves. If you continue he will soon worry about things a small child doesn't need to worry about.

    He's your child, your the parent. He's not your sounding board.

    1. valid point. I'm relieved to report a year later that he is not worried about money or any other adult problem. His worries are all age-appropriate. This doesn't mean that I'm confident in all the choices I've made as a parent. I share intimate details about my life here because I refuse to be ashamed of my story, or hide my truth for fear of public opinion. This post remains one of my favorites.

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