I am always being watched. I am not paranoid, I just have three kids. It has dawned on me more in the past few months, that these watchers are watching everything, not just the important things, but everything. My watchers are gaining in years, the oldest will be a teen in just two more years, and this has prompted a re-evaluation of myself.
First area to evaluate, my behavior in the car. Along with the kids aging, comes the excitement of sitting in the front seat. I thought, this will be great, they will start to realize directions, street names, how to get places, traffic signs, etc. Here’s the reality of it, they watch the speedometer and search for speed limit signs, then they promptly tell me if I am speeding, which I basically always am. Try to explain the five over rule, and they think I have lost my mind, plus I am usually ten over anyways. That could be the problem with my explanation. After my police-in-training have verbally cited me for speeding violations, there’s the issue of the phone. I have always tried hard to keep my phone in its place, it is a phone, not an extension of my body. This issue, texting or talking while driving, the kids have not given any citations, but I know they are seeing my behavior and will mirror it in years to come. So I do what any safe and reasonable driver does, I text at red lights. I need to put the phone in my purse in the trunk, because when the kids start driving, that is what I will expect from them, but, but, but… An area to continue to address for sure.
The next area of my life to evaluate is my relationship with alcohol. I really like alcohol, especially good alcohol. I love creating drinks with my own twists to them, and mimicking drinks from the bar but without the sickeningly sweet syrups and fake ingredients. And beer, a weakness of mine for sure. I crave thick, dark porters and stouts that combine coffee, caramel, and dark chocolate flavors. When we travel, we look for local breweries, and wouldn’t you know it, most have kids menus. I want the kids to grow and see an adult with an appreciation of alcohol and not a dependency on alcohol. That line between appreciation and dependency can get blurred and crossed at times, especially at homework time. Am I right, parents? The most striking blur of this line has occurred at neighborhood gatherings. The kids all play upstairs or outside, and the adults all gather and drink. Everyone has a drink in hand, and rounds of shots are given out, and the kids pass through from the backyard to the play room. How long will it take for one of the kids to try to grab a jell-o shot as they walk through, or snag a beer from a cooler, at some point curiosity will grab one of them. Obviously, one solution is to get a sitter, and don’t bring the kids around said gatherings, but babysitters are expensive, and when friends say bring the kids, you just saved yourself $60 for the night. One again, a topic up for evaluation in my life.
As we fumble through trying to do our best, and minimize the days of therapy the kids will need as adults, an occasional re-evaluation is a good thing. I did get a speeding ticket a few weeks back, so I too will watch my speed a bit more closely. On the drinking front, I am 20 days into a whole 30, so alcohol is off the radar right now. As I safely drive and refrain from alcohol, my kids are watching, as always, and I just try to do the best I can at that moment.