How to Parent Without Being Petty


Fact #1 This is a little bit of a struggle for me. This is why I feel honest and prepared enough to talk about it.

Fact #2 From me to me, I am still working through this; the flesh is a Helluva thing.

Storytime: One day My ex-husband arrived at my home to pick up our sons for their weekly stay with him. We share custody, one week on and one week off. So, he gets here and because we had similar taste in shoes at the time, we both happened to purchase the same pair of sneakers for the boy. He says that the pair he purchased are at my house and the pair I purchased are at his house. I said Ok and didn’t feel the need to go much further into the convo since they were honestly the SAME EXACT SHOE. But he continued about this pair of shoes, I then realized that he wanted me to go in the house, in the boy’s room, and get the pair I had, to switch out this same pair of shoes with the pair he purchased. Now again, the shoes are the same, same color, size, neither pair are worn more than the other from what I could see. But he proceeds to tell me that he knows the pair he has at his house were not the ones he purchased because the aiglet on one of the shoestrings was missing. Now for my folks who know useless info, like me, and for the ones who don’t care to know, the aiglet is the plastic piece at the p of your shoestrings.

CHIIIILE….. when I tell you I can laugh about this so hard now!!! I mean it tickles my soul. BUT HONEY IN THE MOMENT, Pey-LaBelle was awoken, Colonel Pey Sanders was on deck, Pey Standards were taken to an all me high. HON-TEA. I was like, so we gonna beef about plastic?!? Well Ok then! It was on from then. If it was a piece of lint I was sending it back to his house with a note “Returning to the owner.” We became petty towards one another for YEARS! Who could one-up the petty, it was sad. SO dumb! Our sons began to feel the tension, they became afraid to leave clothes, toys, socks, underwear over the other parent’s house because of the amount of pettiness we are trying to show each other, it was showing our kids how immature and stupid we as parents- the freaking adults could be. Our sons were crying as if they forgot something over the other parent’s house. Our oldest was taking on the responsibility of trying to make sure he gathered all the items for him and his little brother before he le our homes just so he didn’t have to hear or feel the tension that came with leaving items behind. Items, that when you think about it, have no real value. Especially in comparison to creating a loving, co-parenting environment for our children. The boys realigned me, they showed me what mattered. They were still healing from the divorce and here I was trying to prove a point at their expense. I can’t stress enough, to know God is to know yourself. The more I discovered Christ, the more I began to know myself and how he needed me to be. The type of woman and mother to be. The type of Christian to be. And the more I understood my Father, the more I grew to understand love. Love encompasses respect, honor, peace, humility, patience. At the end of the day, this is the father of my children a choice he and I made to parent with one another. I cannot demand respect from my boys as their mother and not show respect to their father. I can’t demand they show their teachers and community leaders respect and I don’t show the same to the person they know as a leader. Where do they learn from? I had to change my mind, despite what was being given or shown to me at times. A better me makes a better them. And I want my sons to grow up proud, strong, courageous, wise, and loving. Be beer for the kids. If not for anyone else. Even if you don’t get it in return, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what your kids get in return. Peace of mind, a loving environment to grow in. Let’s be real, you have told yourself and your girlfriends “Gurl! I do not care about him” and we use that as a moving factor to be petty. The truth is, you care very much about him, so much so, that how he reacts to your pettiness brings a hint of joy to your day. But with no regard to how this makes the kids feel. My boys love their father, and no matter how much they look like or act like him or how much their father does or says things that I might not like or understand, I still know that he’s a good Dad. I don’t have to agree with all he does, but one thing I know is he loves and protects them. And if I want my sons to have the chance of knowing what unconditional love is, it is to show it, even when I don’t want to or feel like it. Their smiles and wholeness matter more to me than how upset I can make a person feel. Or how upset I am at that moment. Those feelings are temporary, but the seed I’m planning, and watering could leave permanent damage. It took a conversation years later between my kids’ father and me, to sit down and discuss the harm we were bringing to our kids and how we could be beer communicators. The levels of immaturity that were being shown, simply to hold a grudge or anger. And for what? To have something to hold onto, when that’s the only thing le in the relationship, bitterness. Yeah, Nope, I’m good, let someone else carry that bag. I have been working on my skin too hard to carry that extra weight.

Trust! I know it’s hard sometimes. But when we sit down and think of the bitterness, that act of belittling someone, the cause and reason that one feels from pushing a button you know oh so well how to push, ask yourself are it worth your kid’s joy? Is it worth the peace and happiness of your children? You remember when your baby was turning one year old and they would mock everything you did. Many times, the baby’s first word is “NO” because they often heard you saying this to keep them out of harm’s way. And from then on, they would always mimic your behaviors, good or bad. That doesn’t stop at specific toddler age. We are the examples that these little humans grow up to be. And I pray that with all my failures and successes as a parent, wife, and boss that when it’s all over, I want them to say is- My mom showed me insurmountable levels of strength and love. Don’t Be Bier Baby, Be Beer!
~ S.


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