Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There's no rough draft

So many times since becoming a mom, I've wished that there had somehow been a dress rehersal. Doesn't seem fair to my kids that we are figuring out (or not) this whole thing on them. I was a little hopeful for the outcome of #3, thinking that maybe by then, I'd have it down. But I can't really say that that has been the case. I still evaluate, re-evaluate, analyze, twirl ideas 'round and 'round, pounce on something I think is going to work, and then second-guess myself. Every. Day.One of the questions I seem to ask myself quite often is this: Am I driving my kids mad??A couple years ago, a sweet lady on a flight from Burlington to Detroit handed me a book called Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. She had finished reading it and had heard my lamenting to fellow travelers (we had been delayed for several hours) over having left my latest read at home by accident. I had never read Lamott before. I started reading it the next day and was immediately hooked.In this book she talks much about her family and how things were for her growing up. She said that life was easier at her best friend's house because even though her mom was a drunk and her dad was in prison, things were consistent. At Anne's house things could go any number of ways. And then here's the part that had a real impact on me.

I have read since that this is how you induce psychosis in rats: you behave inconsistently with them; you keep changing the rules. One day when they press down the right lever, expecting a serving of grain like they've always gotten before, they instead get a shock. And eventually the switching back and forth drives them mad, while the rats who get shocked every time they press the lever figure it out right away and work around it.
Unless I want to see my kids end up at a funny farm someday, I've really got to work on being consistent.After the week we just had though, it might be me who gets admitted first!!