We’ve been thinking lately, here at the Grumpy Parent, if we shouldn’t just cheer the hell up.
After all, moodiness breeds moodiness, like divorce is catching and teenagers are wankers. Perhaps our non PMA (positive mental attitude) is what is making it all so hard – and not the wretched offspring that breaks us on a regular basis. What if – dear God – it’s something else? What if it’s… US?
Ha. Not possible. Well, let’s be real: rarely has a “Cheer up Luv” ever garnered anything more than a one fingered salute when shouted by a well meaning, fully qualified psychotherapist builder? How many times has a kind-hearted Granny – or fully judgmental Granny – suggested that you have it easy? Oh, you don’t know you’re born, and “we didn’t have all this in the war”; we had rations in the war; walked 30 miles to school barefoot in the war. Hell EVERYONE gave birth without drugs in the war. Honestly, that last one is such a trump card. #showoffGrannies
But what if the builders have got it right? Well, they’re always bloody whistling, chirpy as fuck fuckers. What if their incredibly chipper, whistle while you work, PMA approach to life is the right one? What if we could just CHOOSE to cheer up and get a grip? Would the kids actually B-E-H-A-V-E? Let’s say we discover, while we wallow near the bottom of our
second third bottle of wine, that all this aggro is fully controllable by ourselves? What if we come to understand that our reactions are the problem and not the kids’ behaviour? WTAF? I repeat: What. The. Actual. Fuck? Could that be true? Of course it IS true, but is that the way to cope with parenting? Can that make them… behave?
Nope. Oh, you didn’t think we really could fix them, did you? Of course they won’t behave. They’re dicks. They are sent purely to test us and remind us that, despite all the scientific evidence to show otherwise, that karma does indeed exist, and that you were once a nob. And now you shall suffer, like those before you. And those before those. Or something.
You can do all the self help courses and child mindset courses that you can get your hands on. We’ve done A LOT here at the Grumpy Parent: well above the national average. In fact, we must surely be due a gold pen. We really should have some reward. Oh, I know: what about simply having a kid that’s vaguely polite and you don’t want to punch in the face? Novel. (We NEVER want to punch them in the face, ever. That’s purely for comic effect, dear Social Worker, we promise).
When you *know* that the reason they are behaving like a little nightmare, utter shit, or tiny Trump (shudder), it’s because they are just little people, with emotions and hormones, and social expectations, hunger issues, too much tech, not enough friendship – and all that crap that your judgemental Granny didn’t have to deal with, and you *know* that it’s complicated and childhood is a tough ride. You also know that they can’t just choose to cheer the fuck up. Nor can you. (If you are Sabrina The Teenage Witch and you actually can, please don’t tell us this in the comments. We’re already clinging on by our well-gnawed fingertips, here. Just lie and tell us how hard parenting is).
What we should agree on is that we MUST give ourselves – and our friends – a break from the guilt of raising our kids. They are not clones of us. They are not going to be everything we wanted to be when we were a child. They aren’t our pension (but we REALLY wish they were). What they are, are little miniature humans, fumbling their way through life, puberty and beyond, and you are there to take that tough shit for them and from them. Like a punch bag. That is all. You can’t fix it, you can’t make it go away, you can only be there to take it. All of it, in its nightmarish rebel ranting, dog-deafening screaming, toddler grade crying, plate throwing, door slamming, food refusing, soul destroying glory. You just take it. Again. And again. And again.
In conclusion: we have evaluated the options and we’re staying grumpy. Kids are aresholes. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But do grab a friend, discover that you are not alone, pour a drink and push on through. Because at the end of the day, only you can control your mood, OK? You and Jacob. At his house on the creek. With his good pal Hendrick.