I don’t want to be this mother, and I caught myself doing it, adding to the very atmosphere and co-created relationship I hate. I heard myself competing with another mother.
I’m a Montessori psycho. I actually went to Michael’s, sorted beads, bought jewelry supplies—clippers that resemble medieval torture devices—and am teaching them the decimal system. (I heard myself do it the other day-exactly what I hate!) I was bragging about MYSELF, not my kids. I was beyond obnoxious.
“Yeah, I’m teaching them odds & evens.” What is wrong with me?! Why would I do that? Clearly, I’m insecure. I feel like there’s some race, and I want to win it, but of course there’s no race. In fact, it’s the opposite, right? “It all goes by so fast,” so savor it, don’t race through it.
When conversations like that happen between mothers, it’s not even about the kids. It’s about the parenting. I want to believe I’m doing all that I can, but why would I say it aloud? I know I do what I can, know what I do, and that should be enough. I shouldn’t need to broadcast it on the bragging channel.
Why would I offer that up in conversation? Yes, she was telling me how her daughter reads full books, and it—I hate to admit this—hit a nerve. An old nerve. Because I’ve already made peace with this. Or have I? It’s amazing I can walk at all when I’m always tripping over my ego.
Hey, at least I’m aware. Next time I hear myself starting in, I’m going to ask my poor victim to smack my ass, to remind me that I’m being one. Because, truly, I don’t want to be this. I refuse to turn into this.
I will say this though. I genuinely enjoy teaching them math. Let me rephrase. I enjoy teaching them anything hands-on, anything visual. While I try to make practicing writing their letters and numbers fun, it’s hard work, and it takes a lot of patience, on everyone’s part. I try window crayons and markers, drawing in sand, finger paint, chalk, oil pastels, colored soap on bathtub walls. I try, my God, I try. But math is easier for me to teach—oh, the irony!—because it usually involves food. Baking is math heaven. So, there’s my excuse. By the way, evens & odds are very easy to teach to twins. I’ll post a video. Or not.