Sometimes I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County.
We’re not going steady or anything, but I am one of those suckers that happens to catch an episode during a marathon… which inevitably leads to me watching the entire freakin season as I morph into Jabba the Fatt on the couch. Before I know it, there are chocolate wrappers and Hot Cheetos strewn everywhere, and I’m shouting obscenities at Noob Daddy intermixed with an occasional “Tamra!” “OMG! Gretchen!” and “Whores!!!”
But what really gets under my skin, what reallllly makes me want to just dropkick someone in the face, is not the wives… but their kids! Their sense of entitlement. Their rude, disrespectful behavior and complete lack of self-motivation and ambition, just really pushes me over the edge. Most of the Real Housewives kids share the common douchebaggeriness of not wanting to work, regularly insulting their parents, whining endlessly, dabbling in school, and just acting like 7-yr-olds.
It’s when I watch this show that I wonder, really, what kind of parent will I be? What are my expectations of my daughter? And what are those expectations fine-tuned to reality?
How do you express… I expect the world from you because I know you’re capable of it, and I love you… but not force your child to crumble under the weight of those expectations?
How do you free your child to become the best version of herself, without completely letting go? Or rather, how will I know when to push just a little bit harder and when to take a step back and simply — accept?
When I watch the Real Housewives kids –spoiled, irreverent, and complacently running at below potential — I find myself whispering a silent “thank you” to my mother. The hard-ass, bad cop, I-won’t-accept-B’s, typical Chinese mother. In those rare instances, I can finally admit that I needed a little kick in the ass many times throughout my childhood to push myself just one step further.
I must thank my mother for teaching me manners, showing me what it means to respect my elders, and reminding me to always say thank you. (Simple things I was very surprised to find were often lacking when I was in the classroom.)
Yet, there is also that child in me, the one that sobbed bitterly in bed… grounded again for not practicing piano, not getting straight As…. that watches that darned show quietly, perplexed, and feeling somewhat jealous of that youth — having the freedom to laze about without a plan, or having the audacity to demand a Beemer for my birthday and then wreck it. Above all, that part of me still wonders what that weightlessness would be like… to not have every fault slapped under the microscope.
How do I weave these two versions of myself together to become the mother I so badly want to be? Is it possible to take carefully chosen pieces of my mother and match them with my own best intentions, with the expectations that tiptoe on the fine line of too much and just enough?
Noob Mommy says
I totally agree with you, Monica. Parenting isn’t about being your child’s BFF. I remember feeling this way when I was teaching too. Sometimes I wanted to be a friend for my students, especially for the ones who didn’t necessarily have friends to begin with. But, your biggest responsibility in the end is to be their teacher and role model…and the same goes with being a parent. Thanks for your comment 🙂 And, yes, technically I am a REAL OC housewife. Does that mean I get to ask for new boobs for my birthday? I’m just sayin.
Oh my gosh, I get stuck watching that sickening show also! You are right about those kids. Part of the issue I see is the parents have spent too much time trying to be their friend, and not enough time parenting. It’s very important for kids to learn where their boundaries are, and they want to know where they are. They will push and push to see how far they can get, and it’s the parent’s role to show them the limit. I think that you are and will be a fantastic mother. Oh by the way, technically, you are an OC housewife. Just the awesome kind! 😛
Well, seeing as I came from the same parents as you (or a dumpster, whichever slanderous story you want to believe), I think it’s safe to say that now that we’re both “grown-ups”, we are much more grateful to them than we could have ever imagined being when we were younger. I watch shows like Real Housewives and just sigh with relief all the time at how I never ended up that rotten and will never raise kids to be that rotten because I was taught better than that. Too harsh, you say? Well as long as you have the best intentions, eventually the kid(s) will thank you!
Very well put. I too, wonder the same thing. I see how my parents pushed me and it got me somewhere. I’m educated, I had a good job (but now have a better one being a mom), I married a good man that treats me well ect. But then I look at my little sister, and yet the same two parents raised her like me, and she cracked. Drugs, partying ect. I think what a lot of parents don’t do, is really take the time to get to know their child. There are some parents out there that have no clue about their child, which is really sad. Unfortunately I think these are the childern that rebel against their parents and end up in bad situations. But for a child to be demanding, and belitteling a parents, that just comes down to the fact that the parents didn’t teach them RESPECT. Okay I’m off my soap box.
Recent blog post: Be Thankful for What I Have….
Noob Mommy says
Thanks Alex. That is exactly what I was trying to convey. “I’m sorry for not being the best mother i can be but expecting you to be the best you can be. thats not really fair.” I will be consciously working on this *DONT_KNOW*
you know, that is a really good question.
i often find myself wondering the same thing.
how do i make my child do whats right, and have good values, while at the same time not forcing him, or pushing too hard.
and at the same time how do i come to terms with the spoiled brat inside of myself so that i can be a good teacher by example.
i dont know? i guess we just have to figure it out as we go along and try to do our best.
i already have to apologize to my baby sometimes when i am so tired and not paying enough attention, i have to say im sorry for not being the best mother i can be but expecting you to be the best you can be. thats not really fair. but we all have good and bad days i guess.
sorry for the novel.
LOVED this post. It is so nice to read what you have put down here.
Recent blog post: The Big Pretend (I Only Watch Funny Movies)