Hopping the Fence

Sometimes when I look at our family’s day-to-day routine, we would seem pretty normal, or as my 16 year-old likes to say, we’re boring!  But man did I enjoy my teen and young adult years; they were far from boring or mundane.  I love to connect lessons that I learned back then into practices that I could use in my current season of mommy-hood.  I think you can take mistakes that you made, and turn them around into conscious good choices.

As a junior in high school I was just starting to figure out the curfew thing.  My parents bought me a rockin’ 1991 Pontiac sunbird and I was finally able to drive myself to hang out with friends.  The biggest rule on the weekends, other than making good choices, was that I had to be in the door by midnight.  Not driving home or walking through the door at midnight, but already in. 

On one particular night that I was out with some friends we ended up at a party.  I remember the house clearly; it was on an older street and had a huge backyard.  I want to say that my friend knew the guy in the house as well, but either way we were at a party and felt cool.  There were kegs filled with beer at this party but I was driving so I wasn’t drinking. (I would say I wasn’t drinking because I was 16 but that would by lying, don’t judge).  My friends and I were hanging out, laughing, meeting new people and having what we thought was a great time.

To keep this story short I’ll skip to the part where the cops came in.  Middle of the party, not even kidding . . . it wasn’t a knock on the door but straight out of a movie the police helicopter is loudly hovering above the backyard with the spotlight on all of us underage kids and through the megaphone he’s yelling “everyone stay where you are”.  And with those words it was like an ant farm had crashed to the ground and ants were running free everywhere, teenagers were escaping the backyard faster than anything I had ever witnessed.  I wasn’t thinking about the cops but my new found freedom and curfew that I had to keep.  These cops were going to get in the way of my independence and my weekend cruisin’ in my Pontiac Sunbird.  Going out the same way I came into the party was too much of a risk.

So we joined the crowd and hopped the fence.  As we were running to my car a few houses down the street I realized that my keys had fallen out of my pocket when I had landed from my jump.  I told my girlfriends to keep running and I quickly headed back to look for them, hoping that the cops would stay distracted by other teenagers.  Because it was dark, I had to get down on my hands and knees, blindly trying to feel for my keys. 

I was only on the ground for a few minutes when something hit my head so hard that I blacked out.  I actually thought that someone had hit me across the head with a baseball bat, that’s how hard the impact was to my 16 year old head.  Once I woke up and opened my eyes, still laying in the grass I heard something that sounded like a trash can or barrel rolling away . . .

In an attempt to not be in trouble with the police the people hosting the party had tossed the keg of beer over the fence.  I just happened to be the teenager crawling around on the ground that intercepted the crash.  A keg of beer knocked me out!  Not only did it knock me out, it left me so disoriented that my girlfriend had to drive us all home. 

I don’t know how the sober teenager was the one who gets knocked out by the keg, but the irony made me really mad at that time.  However now that I’m an adult I can see a little more clearly that I chose to go to the party.  I chose to place myself in the keg-filled environment. I chose to be part of the crowd running from the cops.  I hopped the fence.  I thought that I wasn’t doing the same things as the people the party, but in the end I didn’t look any different from everyone there.

I don’t participate in mommy wars, but I find myself in the middle of discussions on how you school your kids, feed them, spend quality time with them and etc.  I catch myself reading articles about controversial mom choices, I don’t comment on the Facebook thread but now that I’ve read about the subject it will forever be in my mind.  I like to discuss the latest mommy war topics with other moms here and there, but I’m starting to see that even doing that in an un-attacking environment, still makes me a part of the party.  I’m participating, but maybe in a “sober” way, in a way that I don’t think is wrong. 

As time goes on I notice that I easily compare myself to other moms, even though I’m not intentionally doing it, the comparison happens.  When I let my eyes wander to other families’ food choices, or I come across Pinterest perfect parties, my mind starts to spiral.  I’m not productive enough, I need to stay up later, I need to wake up earlier, I’ve got to get a grip on this laundry, I need to do more activities with the kids on the weekends, I need to document and journal about their growth better.  These are a few of the many thoughts that pass through my mind. 

Eventually I find myself knocked out on the ground.  How did I get here?  I’m not fighting people about my parenting choices or making bold statements to friends about my thoughts on how they handle their children . . . I’m not doing that and yet my head still hurts.  It’s throbbing.  

I can’t party. 

I can’t hang with the Momma in-crowd.

I need to hop the fence long before the keg is tossed.  I need to remove myself from the conversations before I get knocked out. 

I need to move forward daily, feeling confident on the parenting decisions that I do make. I must quit innocently reading every article that comes out on a heated debate, I’m participating by putting that judgy junk in my mind.

I think I’ll start my own party with my family.  I’ll try to avoid looking over the fence to see how other momma’s are planning their parties at home, and I definitely won’t be hopping a fence anytime soon.

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