I read that title on a sign in a friends house when my oldest daughter was three. Her boys were a little older, elementary age, and I remember laughing so hard when I read it. It was forever etched into my mind. There have been many days over the last 16 years that I either said that statement out loud, or wrote it as my Myspace, Facebook or Twitter status. Some days are harder than others. Some stages are harder than others. Some kids are harder than others. But at the end of the day, us parents, we are all just trying to keep our heads above water.
I had a circumstance this weekend that has just left me kinda raw in my emotion, so I thought that it was a perfect time to write it down. Not to call anyone out, or to name names, but to tell you all that it’s TOUGH out there, and we gotta have each other’s back. We also gotta be real, face the harsh realities and truths, no matter how much we don’t want to.
I want to share this for many reasons. I want to share it because I don’t ever want anyone to think they can’t talk to me. I want to share it because I don’t ever want anyone to think things are perfect here at the Rhynes. I want to share it because we have to start telling, sharing, bonding, and standing firm in our raising of these kids. IT TAKES A VILLAGE. I don’t want to do this alone. I don’t want to feel as if I am barely holding my head above water. I want you to tell me when my kids have screwed up, and then I want you to hold my hand and tell me about the time yours did and how you handled it. What I don’t want to do is embarrass my child. But if it does, then that is okay too. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little shame this day and age.
This weekend one of my daughters PAID her friend to get her a disposable vape pen….. Let that sink in a minute. She manipulated her friend, who would do anything for her, to buy a wanna be jolly rancher flavored stick with FIVE percent nicotine. Why? Because all of her friends at school do it and she just wanted to have one too. I CANNOT EVEN WITH THAT STATEMENT. I am beyond irritated. Not even mad really. Just aggravated. I know that I did things growing up. BUT DANG, I raised mine NOT to. I talk about it ALL the time. About not fitting in, being born to shine, their freaking bedrooms are like Hobby Lobby isles with inspirational “be you, be awesome, I am woman, Child of God” crap. And yet here we are. And don’t you know that little princess of mine lied to me too, she denied that like Bill Clinton denied his under the desk friend when I was in high school. Right in my face denied. (side note- my Ellerbe Jr High English teacher, Marsha Lambeth would murder this blog for my speech, punctuation and terrible flow) But y’all, she bold faced lied to me. With a sweet innocent blue eyed pink lipped face. I knew it in my heart. I didn’t want to though.
Luckily the way the bust went down, I knew who else was involved. And that leads to the beautiful part of my story.
I shot a quick text to the other mom. The person my kid said she was “holding” it for. Told her one of our two was the owner, but mine wasn’t budging. I got a call about 10 minutes later. Her baby folded way quicker than mine. (our end result, I hope is, that she gives me some lessons on how she made that happen so fast) I called mine in and gave her another chance, and she folded, now that she knew I knew. MAN I didn’t want to hear that, not from that mom or from my kid. NO PART of me wanted to accept the fact that my child had done that. And I could have very well taken her first answer as gospel. Grounded her, and forbid her to hang out with this friend because there was an influence there. And y’all, I WANTED to. God kept tugging and nudging me, and I waited about an hour before I sent that mom a text. I know that when she got mine, she was likely feeling the exact same as me. “Not my child, that was her child”. She won this round LOL, it was mine. But we both won, because we together, found the truth, and handled our children. We didn’t accuse, we didn’t deny, we found the truth, we punished our kids for what they did wrong, and we talked to them and each other.
Somewhere in our culture there has come this shift, where teachers and elders are wrong, and kids are right. Where parents accuse other children, teachers, or leaders for their child’s wrongdoings. This shift is ruining our kids. It’s ruining us. It’s making us be ruled by these sassy, smart mouth, know it all kids, that literally know nothing. It’s awful! I want my babies to be perfect. Oh how I wish they would do no wrong and make me look like the best mom on the planet. BUT they are kids, they are supposed to screw up, and we are supposed to catch them in it, punish them for it, teach them right, and then laugh about it when their kids act stupid. We can’t do this if we feel we are constantly in competition with one another to be the best mom of the best kids. We gotta be honest guys, we gotta be willing to push harder, to share the hard stuff, to have the hard times, and to hold each others hand through it all.