Saturday, September 27, 2008

Complaining About Complaining

Just before school started back, I found that nearly every parent I talked to would say how much they were looking forward to sending the kids back to school. How they could not wait until school started. In fact, it is a general greeting among parents at the end of summer.

Now, we had a good summer this year; I had fun with my kids at the park and pool, etc. It is not that I am incredibly patient or particularly good at this whole mothering thing, but I enjoyed having the kids home. At the end of summer, I was sad it was over. Sure, it was time to get into the swing of things, the kids were eager to go to school, but I wasn't counting the days.

The thing that I find so strange is that if I didn't agree that I was dying to get rid of my children, people would get defensive. Think that somehow I was being a better parent than they were, or they were somehow lacking in parental love for their brood. Which is total crap. Sorry, but there is no other way to put it.

I have great days with my children, and horrific days, and many days somewhere in between. This is the case all year round; sun, rain or snow! I believe most people have the same. I do not think for one second that I do a better job than the majority of parents, or that I enjoy my children more, or that I want some time to myself less. So why do I need to say I can't wait to get them away from me? Which some days is true. Why is this standard protocol for the fall?

Somehow it is presently socially acceptable to complain about the beings in our lives that mean the most to us. In fact, if you don't complain you really make people edgy. Somehow small talk has moved from the weather and cute kid stories to disparaging remarks about ourselves, our children, and our husbands.

I am not guilt free in this at all. I love to tell "funny" stories about how useless I am, I complain plenty about my children who I adore. I even roll my eyes and comment on the multiple faults of my husband who is really my favorite adult in the world and the only person I would ever spend all the time I could with. I am not even sure why I feel the need, but it does seem to be socially acceptable small talk.

Oprah recently did a show about a similar topic. The Oprah Show was all about being happier by not complaining, or mentioning that other people are complaining. Apparently gossiping is fine. Now, I do not consider myself to be a complainer or a gossip, but maybe I am a little of both. However, I do not plan on stopping either completely. That is all too wholesome for me.

For now, I am going to challenge myself to not be so negative about my favorite people for a month. Aside from the venting that is required at the end of a stressful day. I think though no venting until after the kids' bedtime. I am not sure how long I'll make it; probably until breakfast tomorrow morning. I wonder if I will be lost for something to say, not a common predicament for me. Maybe I will talk about the weather a lot or start making up a whole alternate life just to fill the gap. Ok I can do it! Until October 26th and hopefully longer, no derogatory remarks.

Wish me luck!


Jump Hi said...

I think the small evil; "venting" prevents the larger evil; "stew and blow up" and the more contraversial evil "making a nothing into something." Face it, sometimes they (my favorite people) make me crazy and they don't need to know about it because it is my issue not theirs. But that said, wouldn't it be nice to vent to your friends and then immediately follow up with two more things you really appreciate about the subject of your vent. Then people don't get the impression that the people you love are all prats.

Multiple Sarcasms said...

I like that idea. I think venting to friends is acceptable and needed but making conversation by complaining really is something I don't need to do. Especially because so often people complain about their kids when they are right there. Maybe playing but probably in ear shot. I know I've done it many times.

Jump Hi said...

I think people often underestimate kids comprehension see WC's blog on the subject - I agree we should elevate our converstational skills above complaining. How's the weather out there?