Tag Archives: Parks and Recreation

Post #200: On Passivity, Confrontations and Trying to Learn From Mistakes

“But sometimes, if I don’t push you in the right direction, you end up standing still.”

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

Today I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting the fabulous blogger Luna and her beautiful children. She is so smart, witty and kind. And both of her daughters are gorgeous. They were so well-behaved and just a joy. After reading the surprising, harrowing and exhilarating tale of baby Z (which was more thrilling than most books I read this year), it was so beautiful and moving to see her with her mother and sister.

And then there were my children. I love them dearly (I know I don’t need to tell YOU this) but my children are different than me. Darcy is someone I would describe as a strong personality. He confronts life head-on, tackles problems directly and quickly. Like the literary character I named him after, he’s blunt, forceful and says what he thinks.

I am none of these things. I am supportive, nurturing, complimentary, and passive. I’d run a mile to avoid a confrontation.

My children are strong-willed. I am not. So parenting them is a challenge.

The way I have dealt with life is sometimes passive. I do my best and work hard but don’t chase down the great opportunities. I let pretty good opportunities come to me and so my life is filled with mediocre achievements. I have a blog with mediocre traffic. I haven’t redesigned the site yet, because the designers I reached out to were busy for months in advance. So I…took no further action.

Anyway, this brings me to the tussle I had with Esperanza, and it was pretty close to the fight between Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope on my favorite ever episode of “Parks and Recreation”. In the episode, Leslie, a type A go-getter gets annoyed at Ann for not pursuing an opportunity and says often Ann stands still.

Esperanza’s concern with me is that I wasn’t taking any strong steps forward to developmental specialists who could help me manage the kids better.

Here’s an exact copy of our exchange, in which I admit I was humiliated by the way my children behaved around Luna’s angelic children.

Me: “I had a playdate with Luna today and the kids were awful. I was so embarrassed.”

And then she responded, via text, this:

“I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if I were you I’d be doing something proactive with the kids. Trying a new strategy or having people from Xxxxx help you out. You can learn that stuff and get better at it.”

And then, I burst into tears.

The truth is I have been working with a child development specialist to try to help me better manage the twins. She tells me they should be incredibly successful adults, but as a non-strong-willed adult, it is very difficult for me to maintain the energy needed to provide the structure, the nos, the answers, the feedback they need. I do it, every day, and will continue to do it, but at great cost to me.

Esperanza’s right: I need to continue to take a very proactive stand with my kids.

They say you can change a habit in 30 days. Is it possible to change an innate personality trait, like passivity, and get rid of it? If I could and standing up to them all the time wasn’t so exhausting, maybe parenting would be easier?

Have you ever been able to change an actual part of your personality? If so, how?

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Filed under Parenting After IF, SAHM

Happy Birthday to Meeeee!!!!

I love birthdays. Even if they mean I’m getting old. It’s a day when I get special treatment and free reign to pursue fun times with my friends and Darcy. It’s all about ME!!! It’s never about me, so I’m grateful for this day.

The problem with birthdays are the days after. No special me time, just the fact that I’m freaking 39. A year older, a year closer to being completely done building a family and a year closer to 40.

But for now, to heck with that. I am going to let you know what I am particularly thankful for on Birthday Eve. (Yes, it’s a thing!)

1) Parks & Recreation

This show. I love it way too much and have been quoting it to friends and family who have no idea what I’m talking about. (“Dude, you have to END on the rhyme!”) I’ve sent numerous texts with quotes from Tom Haverford, Leslie Knope, Jean Rolphio and Andy to poor Esperanza, who also watches it. It is the funniest show on TV right now. Don’t believe me? Here’s a clip. The set-up: Tom Haverford (a small-town Jay-Z wannabe) launches his own liquor called Snake Juice at his nightclub, The Snake Hole. You read that right. The rag-tag band of government employees the show follows goes to the club to support him and his “Connoisseur’s Juice” and promptly get trashed. It’s really funny if you know the characters, who are usually pretty straight-laced.

In fact the whole episode, called “The Fight” is one of the funniest pieces of TV I’ve ever seen.

2. Neutral Milk Hotel. Hat tip to Parks and Recreation on this one, too. I had never heard of April’s favorite all-time band until watching this show. This song, which came out in 1998(!) in particular I love:

3. A&W Root Beer Floats. Enough said.

Do you like your birthdays? Do you have birthday “hangovers”?

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Filed under Discovering joy