not measuring up…

May 21, 2011

i feel glum and mad at myself today. i thought my oldest son’s last soccer game of the season was at 1:30, but it was really at 12:30, which means, since i’d take the bus or bike or walk there, that i’ve missed the whole thing. i left him a message at his other parent’s house (where he spends almost two days a week) apologizing and saying i wish i’d been there.

i feel so guilty, even though i know every parent has these moments of failure and letting their kids down, and i know as well that beating myrself about them doesn’t serve my kids well, since it sure doesn’t put me in a calm, centered frame of mind.

this one thing (or something else like it) can set off a whole cascade of bad feelings… suddenly my house is too dirty and cluttered and the garden (what garden?) is so tragically behind schedule that we are going to starve despite all my food storage and i’m so broke i’ll never be able to catch up and get the kids the things they need… all of which was true before i got the time wrong for the soccer game and was singing along to old low-fi folk punk classics while i made myself breakfast and will likely still be true when the kids and i are having a great time together when they get home tomorrow.

i need to breathe. and destroy my measuring stick. last night i slacked off on doing my housework, garden work, and/or figuring out some way to make my finances not add up to a sea of red ink and watched a few episodes of my favorite sitcom (actually one of only a handful i like, and i rarely make time even for those), Roseanne, which certainly helps with destroying the measuring stick, or at least changing the scale on which i measure our family’s difficulties. their family is very loving within their snarkiness, and they certainly struggle with money and the dilemma of dealing with what is possible for them because of money, time, energy… everything. they remind me somewhat of my family when i was a kid. my family wasn’t anywhere near as snarky, but i see us as having been real and unsanitized. there wasn’t any west coast psychoanalyzing and selftalk and breathing through things, as far as i’m aware. we were just a family, with warts and love and mistakes and hurt feelings and making up and affection, teasing, and affectionate teasing. i love my family and i love my parents. they probably had their own dark moments, freaking out about some real or imagined or blown up beyond reasonableness failure of their parenting. i was certainly mad at them, sometimes mad enough to say rude things, slam my door, cry hot tears, and yell.

and i don’t for a second wish that my parents had been radically different from how they were… sure, there were missed opportunities and things that hurt me, but in a more controlled family environment all of that might just have been simmering underneath the surface, felt but not spoken…

and yet it feels like i’m just trying to justify my failure (this is where you go, “OMG it’s just a soccer game, a messy house, an unplanted garden, and an overdrawn bank account!!” or whatever, especially if you don’t have kids;). after all, my other favorite show is the Donna Reed Show. nobody does anything really wrong in this show (within the value system of the show, i mean… of course they do things that are wrong within my value system, or possibly yours).

hmm. i think i should go watch another episode of Roseanne. maybe then i’ll feel fortified by it’s hyper-augmented vision of a real family’s warts and troubles. at least i’ll laugh…

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2 Responses to “not measuring up…”

  1. How cool to be so there for your kid that you actually went to his soccer games even not on “your weekend.” Missing one game is not the part he will remember by the way. I think it hurts when our parents don’t notice we are in soccer (or whichever special thing) -or when we did something well, or what our struggles really are.
    Mixing up a time is human-now you are showing them how we deal with our mistakes-that we make them and can be expected to-and how we handle them with grace.

    Once I mixed up the time on 2 weddings on the same day-went to one early and the other missed the whole thing Didn’t know I had mixed them up till I walked in after wedding and reception to the 2nd friend’s event. Absurdly human and hard to explain how that would get mixed up. Now that is a once in a lifetime event-luckily this one soccer game isn’t that.

    You are reminding me of a worry of mine when Ihave a bad yelling at my kid moment and I wonder-is THIS what she will remember as how I am as a mom? Or all the overabundance of the good stuff that is the usual.
    A friend used to joke that her kid would grow up to go to therapy because his parents raised him so that his needs were met. “My parents were always there for me..boo hooo, my life is so boring.” In reality he grew up to be anxiety ridden-nearly phobic about launching into his adult years away from home. Even doing your best-you never know how it will all turn out. But your best, Katie, is rather awesome.

  2. Anonymous said

    love this, love you, love Roseanne! She helped me so much when I lived at my grandmothers, it was just really comforting like she was a role model to me of aspects that my own mother role models were not. she was unapologetic. yep, roseanne and the simpsons was me and my daughters viewing on t.v when we lived in my grandmothers basement, something she didn’t like, but was part of us and making us feel good about being us. TV family. your such a great writer. I just don’t visit your blog enough!

    And you know the weird thing – you can have these struggles at any age. I have these struggles just being on my own – as far as … I don’t know. mental concepts. feeling full of shame. then fighting them back. occasionally 🙂

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