I love these children of mine more than I have words to express and when one of them hurts I hurt too.
I have spoken about my previous plastic surgery through my own eyes many times on this blog. I can usually articulate my own feelings because they are mine. However you will be very hard pressed to find posts concerning the thoughts of my children. Just because it have chosen to write and have a social media presence, does not mean that they want the same thing. So I keep them out of my narratives for the most part but today is a little different. This is kind of long so bear with me!
One of the things that I have let go of over the last few years is the idea of the perfect family. I know some people have the appearance of that but I/we do not. I won’t pretend to be something I’m not and I do not want or expect that of my children. I won’t be plastically put together and present fake smiles. We used to be that and it was toxic. I have apologised to my kids for it and I have also promised them that I will never ever be that again.
The first hint of this change happened when we were pregnant with our youngest child. We walked away from the life we had wanted up to that point. There were a lot of factors involved but the main reason was because of the pressure it put on me during a complicated pregnancy and because we didn’t want our children to live their teen years with judgemental religious eyes on them. We have never regretted that choice.
Today, in truth, our family will be the one with Dad looking on a little bit oblivious to the going’s on around him, while I roll my eyes and the kids are either flipping each other off, bickering, playing pranks or totally engrossed in doing something together. There is joy in our perfect imperfection. I love that we don’t put on a face for the world anymore and if I am going to be really honest – I’m “mum” in this situation, so it would be hard to scrape perfection together because I’m just not. I am also no longer narcissistic enough to think it’s a good thing to present that kind of perfect image to the world. I will not try to control my kids emotions or tell them how they must be. They are doing a wonderful job of questioning and learning and growing into the people that they want to be and I love them as they are. They have been through some awful shit and they keep being resilient and I am proud of them. It’s not that I don’t care about others because I do, but I do not give any fucks at all what someone else thinks of my family.
The start of the truly radical shift did begin with my WLS but it came to a head after my near death experience with the plastic surgery in September of 2019. By Christmas of 2019 my fake smiles and bullshit lay discarded on the ground. I was incapable of keeping up appearances as I once did. So while we were on holidays, we were going to see relatives who thought that it was more important to judge us for the fact that our kid played fortnight, than to ask how we were doing. In that moment – total clarity – I decided – wtf am I doing. I see these people literally 2 times in 10 years and I am allowing myself to give a shit what they think of us because? I feel bad because ??? And with that the light turned on. My children are not extensions of me, they are incredible people who get to make their own choices and have their own feelings. Anyone who wants to judge my kids is welcomed, nay, vigorously urged to shove all their judgement where the proverbial sun doesn’t shine, because no one, not one family, has all their shit all the way together. And in that moment I made our excuses, we left and we will not return.
As we have removed the judgemental stick out of our arses it has opened the door for so many conversations and great experiences but it has also opened my ears to things that I may not want to hear!
Last night when my son expressed the anxiety and fear that my recent surgery had caused I knew that it was another parenting moment where I had failed to be there like I wish I had been able to be. I tried my best but he felt alone and that is on me. So today has been a somber day – one filled with reflection, couch hangs and hugs. Sometimes we just make mistakes as parents. Sometimes it’s others that are the issue and sometimes it’s ourselves!
I am hoping tomorrow is a better day and I am thankful for every single chance I get to tell my kids that I love them and to be there for them and for the part that I get to play in their lives.