This parenting thing sucks!

Whenever I am feeling like I want my life to be different I try to remember a friend of mine (whom I've mentioned lots of times before) who doesn't have kids but really really really wants them so that I return to my regular state of gratefulness.... Part of me wants to call her now and warn her that being a parent is very difficult and sometimes painful.

This is one of those nights!

C breaking boards
It was blackbelt testing at the Tae Kwan Do school. C was the belle of the ball. She messed up big time right in the beginning.... she almost lost her cool, but her panic forced her to channel her energy and then everything else went very well.

N started strong but he didn't stay strong. He mixed up many of his forms. In sparing he did fine but not great (in my humble opinion, but apparently the judges thought otherwise). Ultimately he didn't break his boards. Not his first, not his second, not his third try - which is 20% of the grade, but worse, horrible on the psyche.
N attempting board break

In the end he failed. His sister got 90%. Both kids did well over 155 push ups (my count for what they were assigned in groups of 25-30 at a time, plus there were several minutes of straight push ups in addition - my guess is the actual number was around 250), probably 100 knee bends, with their fingers touching the floor and the actual testing started at 6pm after a full day of school and lasted 3 hours. C had been up more than 12 hours when testing started. N had missed the previous 3 days of school with fever and then a stomach issue but he still tried the test anyway.

How should I handle this? I already said one thing totally wrong: I told C that part of her good score was luck.  Last night N was practicing his board break in a class of 40 some kids. C practiced hers in a class with only 3 adults. The school is definitely at fault too, when kids aren't practicing the board break regularly until the last 2 classes before testing.

I just want to crawl under the covers with my son and cry. At the same time, I want to shower my daughter with the praise she deserves, but I can't because it is too painful for N.

Bridgewater is full of some of the most competitive parents in all of the world. They constantly brag about their own children and hardly can admit to a single fault in their perfect spawn. I'm not like that and can understand how they find parenting so easy and fun while it is so hard for me to reconcile these mixed feelings. Even when things go well, I don't want to make my kids egotistical.

Where is my culpability in this? How could I have prevented this? My poor son.... it's one thing to fail - it's another when his sister passes. And is it the school's fault - for setting him up to fail. He shouldn't have tested if he wasn't ready....... they said his forms were weak - and they were - why have him test if he isn't ready?! So shouldn't they have said something to me - like yesterday when I paid for the testing - that this test isn't in his best interest? He had been home sick for several days in a row - should I have used that as an excuse to keep him home? He was perfectly healthy during testing.

Does this make me want to give up parenting - of course it doesn't. It ust hurts so much to see him cry. But it does make me wish my Mom were here to advise me and to comfort me. She had twice as many kids as I do, so I think she'd been through this before. I need her magic answers. Sometimes it's just hard to be a Mom.... I just wish I could do it without these conflicted emotions. Maybe there is a lesson here? Maybe N will get something out of the failure? It sounds silly right now. Who knows, maybe N is learning more from the experience of not getting what he wants since for most of us life is a mixture of success and disappointments.

(Written Friday at 10pm, Published Saturday morning).


Jem said…
Thanks for thinking of me, hon (you were referring to me, right? or am I just that self-centered?).

This is a very appropriate post because it is the hardest lesson we learn as human beings. Sometimes we fail, and it's not fair. Period. It's not the school's fault. I don't think assigning 'fault' is productive. It IS an important life lesson. Doesn't mean it's any easier for your son, or for you. I think N will definitely get something out of the failure, perhaps more than if it was 'easy.'

You ARE a good mom. You can't prevent your son from having disappointments. As you said, it's part of life.

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