Answers like doctor, lawyer, or accountant always received proud smiles. Astronaut, teacher, musician, or painter get patronizing smiles. Responding to the question with "monkey" or "happy" will likely categorize you as a lost case. So I learned to give the answers that gave me the proudest smiles, kept my "unconventional" thoughts to myself, and tried to get closer to "monkey" in my spare time. With the help of my kids, I might have succeeded on the "happy" bit. :)
|Encashing their 50Kidzos check at the bank|
We waited over an hour to get our turn at the cookie factory, and throughout the wait, Roo made it clear that she wasn't interested. She didn't want to go, but I was just as insistent as she was. By the time it was her turn, I was semi-screaming in frustration and Roo had tears in her eyes. I'd blindly pressured her into something that should have been fun, all because I wanted to keep to a certain ideal target. I'd turned play into work, instead of the other way around.
Once I let Roo be herself, and asked instead of commanded, we were both so much happier. She went off to model, make jewelry, and rolled her own sushi for lunch. These are not what I would have chosen to "maximize" the trip, but these are what she's happy to do out of her own volition, and without any pushing from me. And she was fabulous in all of them.
This is just one avenue where I have overshadowed my own daughter's light, for the sake of an 'ideal' image of success. It's a tiny slip, but it is a very slippery slope. It is a trap that all mothers fall into. This Monster-Me thinks that I know better because I've been around for much longer. "Mother knows best," as they say. But this is not always true. There are many moments when my daughters have taught me fundamentals of life and happiness in the most surprising ways.
Whether unemployed, entrepreneur, or working professional, I learned a job is not all that I am, and that there is plenty of meaning to be found if you open your mind to your heart. Happiness resides in making everyday a choice. The most happy I've been are consequences of choosing to do what I love, no matter how difficult or strange, and in doing it well.
So, when I ask Roo what she wants to be when she grows up, whichever road she picks, I'll be the open-minded mom who smiles with unconditional acceptance and says "Be good and be happy; you always have my support." If she wants to sticker the town with witticisms and go to jail for it, I would most likely be supportive too.
That said, Roo and her friend had a super fun time in jail. :)