Friday, August 8, 2008


We all have them. Especially for our children, we say we just want them to be good people or happy or even settle for self supporting. I give birth to future Presidents and now I'm thrilled if they pass social studies, can name all 50 states or can recognize the color of the White House. It's a given our expectations rise and fall with report cards, behavior, test grades, potty training. Straight A's and it's "Harvard's site looks interesting, sweetie, let mommy show you Boston on a map". Miss the toilet a few too many times and we start to wonder if leaving a larger inheritance is in order. But a parent's expectations can't compete with the bar set for them by their little drill sergeants.
Children expect the world of us. Add in an extra galaxy and a parent might make a dent in living up to their standards. If our kids don't live up to our expectations we take the blame for our shortcomings in rearing them and smugly think we've raised the wisest children for finding their own way. When we don't live up to their expectations they spend a lifetime musing how they could've been a major leaguer if only dad had played catch with them once more. Or would've aced their SAT's if only mom had worked 3 jobs and sent them to private school. If you cooked dinner every night they were deprived of all the fast food fun their friends got to eat. If you didn't cook enough they blame you if they can't kick their Big Mac habit. If a decent parent did things right the reward is their 30 year old reminding them every Thanksgiving about the time mom threw his comics away for not cleaning his room; or the prom dress that made her feel like a third grader. If a parent totally screws it up Thanksgiving is a solo dinner in a diner and, if they're lucky, an email or voicemail message. Our children consider us almighty parents, not people, we're destined to fail the minute we hold that baby in our arms for the first time. That's the point, to raise people better than we are so that they might judge us and find us wanting. The only goal is to fail without setting the future adult up for years of trashing us in therapy. Rare and blessed are the parents that hear "it's OK mom and dad, you're only human".


Juli said...

So true!!! :-) I'm just going to be happy if we're not all huddled in the corner, rocking and eating our own hair.

CA Girl in 10-OC said...

Kids expect the world of the parents until the kids become parents themselves! Then they're like, DANG!