Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My parenting questioned

"Sometimes it seems like all your parenting energy goes into Evan, and Andrew and Brian just live there."

Yep. Someone said that to me. If she wasn't a dear friend, I would ... probably have done the same thing, which was to respond politely and then go home and cry and ask everyone to reassure me. (Dear sweet Hubby found the idea that I neglect Andrew and Brian funny enough that he actually laughed.) But still it hurts to be told that.

It hurts to know that someone who is my friend might think that. I wonder how many other people think that? It should not matter, but it does. It is one of the things I have had to deal with from the beginning. And it is not easy.

I do understand why it seems that way to her.

There are not a lot of people that I can talk to, really talk to, about Evan. That is one of the reasons the blog exists. This friend is one of the people that I can talk to about Evan. She is a gay rights activist, the person with whom I have been running the local PFLAG chapter for the last five years, and she is always interested in the struggles of gay youth. She however does not seem especially interested in children in general. So I don't talk to her a lot about the other boys. She does not have children and when I have told her cute stories about, for instance, how Brian got parakeets, her eyes glaze over with that polite look that non-parents have when they are hoping that you are not going to keep telling stories about how adorable your kids are.

So she hears all about Evan, and I catch her up on David and Carl, but she hears precious little about Andrew and Brian. So it seems to her that Evan gets all of my parenting energy.

She is not the only one who gets this impression of my parenting life. For all I know, many readers of this blog may imagine it that way. The truth is that I don't talk about Andrew and Brian as much, and I don't blog about them as much.

First, they rarely drive me crazy. This past week Brian figured out how to get around our system and get parakeets; Andrew felt overwhelmed by school and I let him take a day off on the condition that he come to work with me and do the homework in an empty office near mine; and Evan left the house in the middle of the night three times to have rough sex with a man he barely knows. I mean ... really ... which story would you be most likely to tell?

And it is not just the shock value; it is that I have no struggles with how I feel about Andrew being overwhelmed and wanting to take a work day. It's part of my life. It was cool having him around. My colleagues all were amazed at how tall he is now, but I just don't have a pressing need to sort out my feelings by writing about it.

Second, I don't say much because I have always hated the competitive bragging that parents fall into so easily. If I do mention my children's achievements I am likely to put a negative slant on it. So I am more likely to complain about these stupid standardized tests the schools give yearly and how Brian has TERRIBLE work habits and is not helped AT ALL that his sixth grade teacher told him that his scores were already high enough for him to graduate from high school. (See how I buried the information that Brian is brilliant? We did have him tested a couple of years ago to see if there was any reason for his scattered performance in school. The $700 answer was "He's really smart and bored." There was more, but that was the heart of it.)

And finally, I also don't often share any troubles that they have because so many people, sometimes it seems like EVERYone, is determined to think that whatever problem they have is a result of my doing care.

"Brian keeps trying to get him more pets. No matter how many animals we have in the house, it never seems to be enough for him."

"Poor thing. Do you think he is not getting enough attention? You put so much into Evan, is there really enoungh left for him?"

"Andrew is having a hard time with school. It is not that he can't do the work; it's just that it feels it is meaningless. It's like he's got a bad case of senioritis and he is only a junior."

"I you think he feels like he has to have a crisis to be interesting to you?"

You get a couple of responses like that from well-meaning folks and you learn to shut your trap.

But still it hurts.

At least it does until I get mad.

1 comment:

  1. I can't comment on your non-blogging life, but as far as comments on the blog go... I always hate when a commenter thinks my blog life is my whole life. We all present a slice of ourselves -- the pieces we need to share or are willing to share. There are things we hold back, things we keep private, and aspects we never reveal. It's the nature of online blogging. Yet, we're sometimes held to an unreasonable scrutiny.

    Sorry your friend said something so hurtful. I barely know you as a blogger and even I know better.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.