I am not a control freak. I’m really not…normally.
Parenting has made me a crazy control freak, but ironically not in the way it makes a lot of people. Relinquishing control of Verona, letting her be her own person, not (intentionally or forcefully at least) imposing all my little quirks and opinions on her… that has been easy. The hard part is accepting that not everyone who interacts with her is going to be… well… me.
Like any parent I have specific ways I want to raise and interact with her and like any child she is going to come into contact with lots of people who do things differently than I do.
And that’s ok. THAT’S REALLY OK! (I’m yelling because I’m still trying to convince myself.)
Everytime someone goes on and on and on to her about what a pretty girl she is… OH MY GOD STOP IT RIGHT NOW YOU’RE TEACHING HER THAT HER LOOKS ARE ALL THAT MATTERS!!!! Whenever someone condescendingly holds the cookie that she very politely asked for out of her reach prodding her with “Say the magic word.” OH MY GOD SHE’S NOT A DOG THAT NEEDS TO BE TRAINED! YOU WOULDN’T USUALLY SAY PLEASE IF YOU WERE ASKING ME FOR A COOKIE SO STOP BEING A BULLY ABOUT IT WITH HER!!!! And especially whenever anyone says “Good girl!” because she shared/talked/finally said please because she wanted the cookie so bad. HER GOODNESS DOESN’T HINGE ON DOING WHAT YOU WANT. SHE’S GOOD AND WORTHWHILE REGARDLESS. IF YOU WANT TO SHOW YOUR APPROVAL TELL HER THANK YOU FOR WHAT SHE DID LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!!!!
Yes, as it turns out I am totally crazy. (For the record I have never yelled any of those things at anyone, I’m not that nuts, you’re getting an inside look at the loco inside the noggin de Jenna.)
And I need to chill the F out. For starters all the afore-mentioned things are essentially just my opinion, and as such there is a risk that I’m wrong. Of course I don’t think I’m wrong, but nobody thinks they’re wrong. And more so I need to trust that Verona can survive in the world. There are a lot of things I will shelter her from since she’s a small child obviously, but I need to trust that my influence is greater than that of other people. The conversations we have about sexism, double standards, and being proud of who you are going to stick more than playing with her friends toy make-up kits and plastic credit cards (I’m not making that up, toy credit cards and make-up aimed at toddlers exist). My treating her as a person worthy of respect will matter more than when other people manipulate her into doing something.
I trust that she can learn, grow, and become the amazing person she is… a person that is neither me or those other people… and as an extension of that I need to trust that as she grows she can learn to navigate a world with a million different view points and attitudes. My guidance as her mother will be a big part of that but that guidance as her mother is all I can do. Past that I need to trust that she’ll be ok because kids are resilient and I’ve done my best.
And anyway, the only alternatives are locking her away like a princess in a tower so she can never be touched by the outside world or stressing myself needlessly into an early grave and neither of those are the answer either.