I remember when I was younger and I'd babysit. I didn't do it because I particularly liked kids. I did it because I wanted to have money to do things with and had been told that was how girls my age got it when they didn't get allowances. I remember how sometimes (probably more than I care to admit) I'd look at my watch and wonder "when will your parents be home?". I find myself thinking that sometimes now that I'm the parent. I'll look at my watch or the calendar and think "when will the parents be home?". But I'm the parent. At least, that's what people keep telling me.
I swear sometimes that I'm just pretending at this adult/parent thing. I may be turning 33 but I often feel like I have the answers of an 18 year old. Ok, not what an 18 year old will tell you, because well, they're invincible and have all the right answers. But the answers and 18 year old actually has. That is, none and the wrong ones. Somewhere down the line I thought that someone would have the answer key, the solution or even just the operators manual to being an adult. It seemed like my parents knew what they were doing, even when they disfunctionally did not. So if my parents could figure all this out even with all the hell we went through, why couldn't I? To my youthful eyes it always appeared that they somehow found the money to buy food, pay the bills, keep us clothed and in a functioning house. All with a decent pile of gifts at the required times. Sure I remember being told "we don't have the money/time for that" but as a kid you expect to hear that because well, that's just something adults say to get kids to leave them alone. I saw the struggles my parents went through, but for some reason, it never clicked that that was what life was really like. Probably because I knew our situation was far far from normal (for those who do not know, my mother was an alcoholic).
We all are told to get through high school so we can go to college. But then what? We get a degree and are supposed to get a job right? But what about everything else that comes in life? When are we supposed to learn about investing for a future that no one can predict? What if what your passion doesn't make money (come on people, do you really expect me to make a living working in theater)? Has anyone ever been offered a class on how to build a healthy, functioning social network (not Facebook style, in PERSON)? How do we learn when to decide to take the car in to fix the gas gauge versus using those funds to do the repairs your house needs? Who teaches us how to adjust to being a spouse, a parent, or a parent of more than one child? In this ever global world we live in we rarely stay close to family, the people that used to teach us and mentor us in those lessons. Now we must struggle on and forge our own way. Hoping that we are not taking wrong turns or about to encounter the Minotaur.
In middle school I was in a play called "It's all Greek to me". The entire premise was to show different Greek myths. I got to play both Persephone who sits in hell crying for her mommy and Ariadne who gave Theseus the ball of thread to lead him safely out of the Labyrinth and away from the Minotaur her father had created. Lately in my parenting I feel as if I am Persephone more than Ariadne. But then again, I could just be the actor and only pretending until the real parents come home.