I am split.
I am split as a mother and as a person or possibly a personality type.
As a mother I hate to rush my child. As a person, I am trained to meet deadlines, fulfill norms and do better than expected.
As a parent, I want to raise an independent thinker but as an individual, I am pulled by habit to work with and around the system.
As a parent, I want to ignore or fight anyone judging my child because he’d rather read a book than copy pages of notes from the screen in front; As a person, I feel judged by my inability to get my son to do what is expected.
I am split by choices I want to make as a parent and the choices I end up making as a person.
My dad always taught us, look around, notice what needs to be done and get it done. I hear that voice constantly in head. And that voices nudges me on. It has always helped me challenge myself, try and do whatever I do well be it packing a suitcase or cleaning my cupboard, organising an event or meeting deadlines at work. I am constantly competing with myself to do it better than the last time, quicker, more efficiently or whichever superlative is possible.
But my son, he takes his time.
He can easily lose himself in thought, in words, in time and in people. He can leave tower 1 at five and get to tower 3 at five thirty, without even stopping to have a conversation with another person. He can sit in front of a test at five and when I check on him forty minutes later, be lost in thought with only two questions done. He’ll simply tell me got distracted. He can sit on the pot and engage with his imagination till I find him right where I left him twenty minutes later.
There is a part of me that tells me, Life is not a timeline that needs to be rushed. We need to slow down, smell the roses, enjoy the twilight, be in the moment. That part of me tells him, take a year off, repeat a class, ignore the pressure.
And that part of me, hates to see my son being throttled with do’s and dont’s; finish up now or life will come crashing upon you; you need to figure this out now, or how will you manage?
It hates the schooling that seems to forget the need for exploration, making mistakes, building relationships, needing nudges, and is in a constant rush to finish pages of writing, completing tests, and assigning value and tags to children.
That parent lets him read a book instead of opening his bag and completing his pending classwork; that parent lets him forget school and deadlines and play with his friend who is soon leaving the country; that parent ignores the forgotten food as he is devouring adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy and Roald Dahl.
And just when I begin to get comfortable with being that parent, the almanac comes to haunt me,
“Madam, counsel your child to do his work”;
“Mam, your child is not writing anything in his notebook. Talk to him”
I am shaken back to reality and so is my child, literally.
The yelling, the screaming, the get it done because I said so. Ooh, the dreadful version of me, possessed and frustrated failed parent.
I want him to be him, but I am me too.
I am trained to adhere, to be the best, to outperform, compete.
And his inability to do so, I take as a personal failure, punishing him for being him.
Long before I studied Psychology, I was introduced to the idea of Multiple Personality Disorder by Sidney Sheldon in his book, Tell Me Your Dreams. And looking at the split mother and me, I am quite tempted to diagnose myself with dissociative identity disorder holding together my own versions of Ashley Patterson and Toni Prescott.
Only this time, I really wish I would let the parent win!