How perceptions of parents change as we age
YOU ONLY THOUGHT YOUR PARENTS WERE DUMB!
When I was a child of school age, I thought my mother was mean and loud. Clean your room and take out the trash and empty the dishwasher were just a few of her favorite sayings. I don’t recall thinking she was wise but she sure did seem to know everything! As I moved into my teenage years, my mother was even worse. Strict and unfair is how I would describe her. Even my friends feared her. Now don’t get me wrong, she was not abusive. She was old school strict. And I was her youngest and only daughter. But at that time I thought she was terrible and vowed to myself, that I would never parent my children as harshly as she did me.
My teenage years were not filled with drugs and drinking and staying out late. Oh no, my mother had set rules and they were to be followed or pay the price. I was not a perfect teenager, that’s for sure. But I was not bad either. I tested the waters and messed up occasionally. Missing curfew was a biggie in my house. Even being 15 minutes late with a good excuse could be means for grounding. Bad report card grades were also punishable by grounding.
I remember thinking how my mother didn’t understand me and how all I wanted was for her to listen to me and praise me. But being a rebellious teen, nothing she said would be right at the time. By the time I graduated high school and went to college, I was sure that she was so out of touch with me that she and I would never be friends. After a semester away from her heavy handed rule, college was an escape. It didn’t last long though. I was living back at home after my freshman year. But things changed little. She was less strict but still watched over me with a careful eye. Soon the bickering began again and I was looking for another escape. This time at 19 years old I picked the military as my way out. Do you see the irony in that decision?
Once I was out on my own in the real world things got better. I would actually call and listen while my mother gave me advice. I didn’t always use her advice though. After 4 years in the U. S. Air Force, I got married. Two years later I had my first child. That’s when it happened! My mother whom I thought all these years was as dumb as a box of rocks, became the most intelligent person on the face of the earth. Her wisdom was incredible. She knew everything about everything. Where had she been hiding all these smarts? I was dumbfounded to say the least.
My mother and I became friends finally after I became a mother. She was my best friend and supporter until the day she past away 7 years ago. Everyday I wished I had her here to help me through my own children’s teenage years. Because as it seems I have lost my mind and they think I am as dumb, or maybe even dumber than I thought my mom was. The circle of life is complete! Watch out! What goes around comes around. I will sit by and wait until my children have their own children for my brain to come back.
Funny how our perceptions change with life.