Don’t Hurt Yourself or I’ll Kill You

My child is going to need therapy. I just asked her if she was getting a cold and noticed that there was accusation in my voice. How loony is that? As if my daughter were out looking for trouble and caught a cold.

She wasn’t hanging around a doctors office asking people to sneeze in her face. If she has a cold, she got it by accident like we all do.

Apparently, there is a certain element of insanity in the motherhood gene. I remember my Mom telling me that my great aunt used to spank her kids if they hurt themselves. I’m not quite that far gone yet.

I know my child’s instinct is to explore and learn about the world. She should do this. It’s healthy. My instinct, on the other hand, is to prevent her from doing almost everything, because if she does it she could get hurt or catch a cold or marry someone who is just not right for her.

How has this parents having children thing ever worked out? It seems a recipe for disaster.

I can’t think of anything she does that I actually approve of – including going to school. I’m sure the school is trying to stifle her individuality. God forbid they should do that. My job as her mother is to stifle her in general, but unlike them, I am only trying to protect her.

Hogwash. The best thing for her is to be who she is.

The best thing for me is to protect her from becoming anything like me. I just don’t want to witness the same kind of travesty twice.

Isn’t it sad, really, that I’m trying to prevent my daughter from making the same mistakes I did, when the only tools I have to accomplish this task with have so far only made a neurotic?

If your parents screwed you up, what did you learn from them that made you capable of raising a more stable adult than they did?

The only advantage I have over my parents in the child-rearing area is that my husband is a completely different kind of parent and keeps my “stifling instincts” in check to some degree.

Charlotte is only nine. We have a long road ahead of us. I can’t wait for the first time she says, “I hate you and I wish you were dead.” I’m trying to think of a good comeback for that. I have a few years to think about it. Maybe something witty like, “Yeah, well you just added another week to your punishment, Smartypants.” You can’t beat the classics.

My only saving grace is that I know that I know nothing. That fact might get me some points in a philosophy class. But, I’m sure it won’t take long for my daughter to figure out that I am the biggest jackass on earth – and she’ll be certain of it.

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