I typically receive a lot of praise for my parenting style, and the relationship I have with my son. But let's be honest I'm just a normal momma like anyone else. I know it's hard to believe, but I guess I don't always have it figured out! HA!
A little while back I shared a post on my Instagram page (@macideshanebookout) complete with a 'selfie' of Bentley and me, followed by a caption reading:
"Some of the best parenting advice I've ever received was that no matter how many questions your child asks.. Like 'Why do you have to stop at a red light?' followed by a 'Why did they make that a rule?' followed by a 'What happens if you don't stop at a red light?' followed by about five more 'Why's?' ... Try your best to take the time to answer every question. They're listening, and learning. One day they will appreciate the time you spent talking to them."
I do try to take the time to answer every question that my son, Bentley, asks me. Even the smallest of questions, like the ones stated in the caption above. With that said, after sharing this post on Instagram… I have really been tested on this specific matter.
--As I write this blog post its occurring to me that this might be some sort of karma?
Now all I can think is, 'Oh hell, who did I piss off last week?'
Back to the matter,
Over the last couple of weeks, I've thought of a couple questions of my own:
What if you don't know the answer?
What if you don't know how to answer the question?
Bentley will ask me questions like:
"When are you going to marry Taylor?" (my boyfriend of almost two years)
"What does it mean if someone is adopted?"
"Why do I have two homes?"
"Why did Roxie go to Heaven?" (our dog that passed away in Dec. 2012)
… you get where I'm going with this?
Okay, here's a very good example from just a couple of nights ago:
Monday evening, I was enjoying my weekly episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (one of my favorite guilty pleasures). As I was watching, Bentley sat down next to me and began watching too. A few moments later, Bentley saw Miss Lawrence*. Then Bentley asked me:
"Why does that man have lipstick on?"
*For those of you who aren't familiar with RHOA, Miss Lawrence is a friend of the ladies on the show, and he regularly appears in episodes. Miss Lawrence is a cross-dresser, and I won't deny that I'm jealous of his ability to always choose the best lip color.
I was kind of shocked, and really unsure as to what Bentley really meant by the question. Then I realized that just because I may be familiar with something… in no way, shape, or form does that mean my five year old is familiar with it too. Especially in a situation like this. How do you answer a question like that, when it's being asked by a child?
I'm very open to people and how they choose to live their life. I try my very best to only ever judge people on the way that they treat me (and occasionally on what type of beer they prefer). This is something that I try to teach Bentley too (not the beer part, although that will come in time).
It sounds easy enough to teach the golden rule, and most of the time it is an easy thing to explain/show to him. But trying to quickly think of a responsible and respectable answer to a question like that, from a five year old boy, is NOT so simple. I may or may not have been freaking out a little bit….attempting to find the right answer, and fast.
Before I knew it, I simply responded with:
"Because he likes lipstick, and that's what he wanted to do."
I don't know if that was the correct answer… Technically, yes it was. But I don't know if my response answered the question that Bentley was actually asking. In my opinion, Bentley probably wasn't expecting the answer I gave him. I think he was looking for an explanation to something unfamiliar to him, that his young mind doesn't yet understand. But, does he even have to understand it at his age? Or ever?
I don't think our job in life is to understand everything that people do or say, but to understand ourselves… To treat people the way that we want them to treat us, no matter what differences we all may have. I've thought about this short conversation many times since it happened, and I believe I did the best I could.
Kids aren't looking for a long narrative answer when they're asking questions like these. They're looking for something exactly like themselves…true, short, sweet, and to the point. If they want more information, trust me, they will ask you. Youngins' have simple minds, that require simple answers.
If you've experienced a similar situation please feel free to share it with me in the comment space below. I'd love to hear your feedback or any advice you may have for me and anyone else that may come across a difficult situation like this.
Thanks again for stopping by, and don't forget to tweet me (@MaciBookoutMTV) with what you'd like to read about in my next blog post!