Part of being a parent is the hypocrisy that goes hand-in-hand with child rearing. I've heard from lots of parents the basics: they smoke, but they don't want their children to smoke, they drink (and drank underage as a teen) but they don't want their kids to drink. Let's not even get started on the whole topic of pre-marital sex. None of my children are in the double-digits yet, so I'm just going to bleach my mind of that thought for the next six years.
When you're a parent of young kids, you find yourself saying, "Don't pick your nose" but then you go in the bathroom and pick your own nose... fine, you don't pick your nose (yeah, right). Or the whole, "stop touching your privates" but we all know what adults do with their privates, when they are in private. (Don't lie.) It's hypocritical, it's a daily occurrence, it's parenting.
I've gotten used to the hypocrisy I know I possess as a parent. It's become a necessary evil. I am a normal, albeit flawed human, and "do as I say, not as I do" is always in the back of my mind. We are trying to raise children into competent adults, and with that, comes this amazing grey area of what is acceptable behavior in public. While I, as your mommy, will attempt to deal with your ridiculous, violent temper tantrum at age 3, your boss, when you are 23, might not want to have that around the other employees. If they figure this shit out then I've done my job right. (Fingers crossed.)
When you get pregnant anytime after your first child, it's like your brain resets itself, or maybe you take all the awful shit and repress that into a dark corner of your mind as a defense mechanism, or maybe it's just preggo brain and you can't remember if you put underwear on that morning or not... either way, I have three kids and I seemed to forget the biggest hypocrisy of my childbearing history, until this morning.
This morning my middle child, my 3-year-old, had his first soccer game. A real soccer game, with a real coach, and real uniforms, and real teammates. Mind you, my oldest, has been playing competitive soccer since he was 3. I've spent the last seven years on soccer fields with children, so today was an exciting rite-of-passage for Middle Monkey. To him, it meant he was, really "a big boy," to me, it meant, oh shit, another place to remember to bring another kid, but I was, of course, excited for him. While watching and assisting in the shit-show that is 3-year-old soccer, one of those hypocrite memories from the days of yore flooded my brain.
The biggest hypocrite parenting moment starts when our children play competitive sports. From the moment they interact with others we tell them: Share, don't hit, don't take things, don't take things that aren't yours, don't scare other people, be nice, be kind, be respectful, be compassionate... and then they start playing "real" sports and the most demure, the most reserved, the quietest parent on the planet, becomes the biggest psycho in the universe when she screams, "GET THE F*CKING BALL!" Okay, maybe she didn't say that out loud. But she wanted too, she was close.
If it takes place on the field, every modicum of truth has gone out the window. We now tell our kids the complete opposite of all the things we've been saying for three years about being a good kid, a good person, and a good friend.
"Get the ball!"
"Go get it back!"
"Steal it from her/him!"
"Don't let her/him take that from you."
"Get up! GET UP! What are you doing?"
"Check her/him back. That's your ball!"
"Run!!! Don't stop!"
Even at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday, even without alcoholic drinks in our hands, and cheerleaders on the sideline, parents lose all self-control and forget about the normal everyday messages we've been teaching our kids since birth. We expect these little people to flip a switch between gamer and good person on a dime, and then are surprised when it takes time for them to come back to what is expected.
Thankfully I wasn't that mom today (although I've been that mom before). Monkey is a gamer all the time. His post-game-tantrum was because the game was over and he wanted to keep playing. Other kids, not so much. I'll be surprised if they show up next weekend.
At least one thing is the same on and off the field... Don't bite.