Nothing Good Happens in the Extremes

For any endeavor to be successful, you have to have a overarching goal, right? You have to have a way of knowing if you’re getting what you want out of your effort or if you need to make an adjustment because you’re just not where you thought you’d be when you started.

When I started writing with intention, I also started setting goals. I want to write a whole complete novel. I want to self-publish. I want to connect with other writers.

Within that goal, there are smaller goals or mile-markers or strategies or whatever, whatever but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a very general WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Today I was thinking about what the overarching goal of parenting is and my answer ended up being a spectrum of Raising a Successful Adult where the median outcome is “child grows up and is able to care for oneself without my help so I can die in peace or, like, fulfill my youthful ambitions and then die in peace.”

But that’s just where I’m at.

Because where I got stuck in my thinking was at the two extremes of that spectrum where JUST BE NORMAL seems to be staring down BE THE MOST SPECIAL. I started lumping the terrible parents I’ve known onto one of those ends.

On the JUST BE NORMAL side is where you find your “disowned my kid for being gay” parents along with your “my kid doesn’t have autism, he’s just shy” parents and the “what you do with your big emotions is, you just shove ’em way down deep and don’t acknowledge them” parents.

On the BE THE MOST SPECIAL end, you’ve got your Beverly Goldbergs, your “you must be teaching it wrong because my daughter is brilliant” parents, those “go easy on him because he went to bed late and maybe don’t point out any of his mistakes because it’ll hurt his feelings” parents, and your, “you’ll never amount to anything as long as you only take seven out of the eight offered AP classes this term” parents.

Those parents never do notice the irony of their techniques backfiring, do they?

This is all just to remind myself that my kids are who they are and it’s my job to help them figure out who that is in a loving, encouraging, respectful environment with just the right amount of boundary-setting, rule-enforcing, and push toward self-discipline.

I mean, I don’t always succeed and my son is already king of arguing a loophole until I have to give in out of respect for his moxie but, you know, I try.

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My Two New Shows

A Million Little Things stars Nick from Grimm and I’ve missed that show so much that I had to check out his new show. And HEY! the funny guy from Psych and the funny guy from The Forty Year Old Virgin are in it along with that guy from Office Space who’s also in like, all sorts of things. This’ll be a GREAT show, I think, watching the teaser to the pilot on a Tuesday afternoon while my kids play quietly on the floor.

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I loved… this show. 

And then what’s his name, who didn’t finish the TPS reports, jumps off a balcony and kills himself and my son decides THAT VERY MOMENT to pay attention. “Mommy, what happened to that guy?” he asks all sad-faced and too smart for his three and some odd years of life.

What happened is I turned that show off, turned Sesame Street on, and now I watch A Million Little Things alone when the kids are out of the house and cry to myself because life is a bitch, ain’t it? This show is my This Is Us, I’ve decided, which I cannot watch because I passionately dislike Mandy Moore. Also I think a baby died at some point. I don’t watch dead baby shows. “No, thank you,” as my son politely says to my husband whenever he tries to sing.

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I could not stand… this child.

And on the opposite end of the emotion-o-meter, I’ve been watching God Friended Me starring that woman I saw somewhere before plus the guy who was The Mayor? and the dude who plays his dad was the bossman in Speed and the adopted Blues Brother. I was pretty pissed that Kevin Probably Saves the World was cancelled since it was my weekly reminder that everything doesn’t suck all the time so this show has to MEASURE UP. And it kinda does! Plus gay characters and racially diverse cast and a Star Wars reference to sum up the main character’s relationship with his dad! I love a feel-good show.

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Convenient! Kevin and Miles actors promoting their former shows.

What I like about religiesque shows is all the happy fun miracles and positive life-affirmingness without any of the Seventh Heaven preachiness. I don’t need TV shows to tell me how to live MY life. I need them to play out my more extreme emotions so my daily life can remain drama-free. I will go to fake condensed for TV church/temple/service just like I adore a sports plays chosen for maximum dramatic impact sport-type movies. Get to the point, relate to the subject matter, and end in 30-60 minutes and I’m all on board.

Meanwhile, shows I hated within minutes of viewing the first episode:

The Neighborhood

I Feel Bad

Happy Together

Couldn’t do it. Too sitcommy. Too reliant on boring tropes and stereotypes. The only good sitcom anymore is The Good Place.

 

Don’t Mind Me, I Just Created That Life

What do you do… when you tell someone how many you kids you have and they look at your husband, wink, nudge, and exclaim, “Hey, you’ve been busy, eh?!”

Because, FIRST OF ALL, *I* been busy. ME. I have been gestating and birthing babies, ok? I have done that work. And “scoring” with your wife isn’t that big of an accomplishment.

Secondly, what kind of manly man patriarchal bullshit says it’s appropriate to congratulate a man for having sex with a woman who then bore a child IN FRONT OF THAT WOMAN?!

Now, I am a firm believer in choosing your battles and pissing off this man has some pretty significantly negative consequences so no, I did not tell him what I thought of him. But neither did I blush and look away because “tee hee, I’m an innocent in all of this. Where do babies even come from?!” No, I flushed–as one does when angry–and took a deep calming breath, reminding myself that old white men only change when they feel like it and this one, he ain’t changin’.

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To his credit, my husband did not accept the compliment. He actually got really flustered and changed the subject then apologized to me later.

And for future reference, you congratulate people on having children, not for having sex. That’s weird and intrusive.

Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

 

By the Seat of My Pany-pan Pants

This is the blog post where I try to decide what to do for NaNoWrimo. Write something new or finish something I’ve started?

No matter what I write in this post, I will end up doing whatever the hell I feel like doing coming November 1. And there’s a good chance I will change my mind and start over again on November 2.

So this blog post is pointless. Trying to plan ahead is pointless. My writer self does whatever the hell she wants whenever she feels like doing it.

Incorrigible. Inveterate. Resolute.

Pantser for life, ya’ll.

 

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