Some might say I have the sensitivity of Brad Pitt while others might say I am the most honest person they know. I am a bad liar, and sometimes my honesty doesn’t put me in the best light.
Shopping with a friend, she says, “Those pants looked horrible on me.” “I KNOW! You cannot get those.” When my family was eating at a friend’s house for a barbecue, and she notices my kids aren’t eating their steak. “They said they can’t bite through it,” I graciously explain.
So this past weekend when my daughter came off the soccer field, and declared, “I played horrible, my worst game ever.” I replied, “Yes, that was not good.”
We get to the car, and she starts hysterically crying.
Scott: What’s wrong, baby?
Julia: Mom says I played horrible.
Me: What? You said you played horrible, I agreed with you. You didn’t want me to agree with you?
Scott: Julia, you played amazing! A couple of plays didn’t’ work out, that’s it. But you played hard and tough.
“Et Tu, Brute?” Weren’t we just sitting next to each other on the field, watching Julia, wondering if she had that facial recognition disorder we once saw profiled on Sixty Minutes where the woman couldn’t recognize a picture of her daughter, and we thought Julia couldn’t recognize her teammates because she kept kicking towards the other team? And now, you turn on me, and make me look like Mommy Dearest?
Now, I’ll only admit this to you guys, but perhaps I could have taken Scott’s approach, been positive first, then later on reviewed Julia’s missteps with her. But in my defense, Julia caught me off guard. Mind you, this was game 3, loss three of a two day Soccer Tournament. It’s hot, we all feel defeated. By game three, parents are walking around like zombies with their chairs. I haven’t been able to do anything fun the past two days. I look like some freak with a big straw hat and an umbrella to protect me from the Florida Sun. The most popular guy at the field is the one whose chair reclines all the way back, and no one tells me they love my pairing of cute cut-offs and high tops. No one notices I am wearing the latest tank from lululemon. They just judge me for having only cup holder in my chair, their face saying, “that chair is so last soccer season.” I have made a minimum of five tight ponytails for Julia, where she criticized each one I might add, and I stood by my refrigerator for at least ten minutes each time I filled Julia’s Igloo cooler.
So all of this may have contributed to me not being at the top of my parenting game.
But honestly, my daughter is ten years-old now. She is a great soccer player, and she is tough. Just last week she got really bruised up in a game. She had a bruise under her eye that made me reminisce about my medically necessary deviated septum surgery. So I didn’t think she was so fragile that I had to lie to her about her performance.
Don’t you believe we try too hard to make our kids think they are perfect at everything that we end up doing them a disservice? Fast forward fifteen years, Julia hands in a marketing report to her boss. “Julia, this is not very detailed. You can do better.”
Phone rings, “Daddy, my stupid boss told me my marketing report wasn’t good.”
“Oh baby, you do the best marketing reports. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.”
I bestow a ton of praise on my kids, but I can’t lie and tell them they were amazing when they weren’t. Am I a bad parent? Maybe I should lie a little more or work on spinning my opinion in a more positive way.
But Scott better not blame me when Julia tells us she is skipping college to go out for the U.S. Olympic Soccer Team because, Daddy told me I am amazing.
And don’t look at me if you see a lot more women wearing jeans too small for them, exposing their camel toe, because I decided to tell them they look perfect.