(Originally written Oct, 2016)
My daughter is not me.
I’ve spent her entire 8 years on this planet trying to make sure of that.
I’ve made sure she isn’t growing up like I did – no divorces, no abandonment, no drugs, no massive insecurity turned anxiety, no moving a million times, no starting another new school, no fending for herself in the murky adult world before she’s even an adult herself.
I’ve paid conscious attention. I’ve made personal sacrifices for what is best for her. My career. My freedom. Classroom volunteering. I’ve ignored what I want for what she wants, and needs. I’ve extended myself beyond my comfort zone for what is best for her. This is what all moms do – or in my mind “should” do.
And still, I’m failing.
It turns out there are just some things I can’t do. Namely, Girl Scouts. As if being a soccer mom isn’t agony enough for my internal faulty brain processing, Girl Scouts will shoot even a sane mom over the edge.
The arts and crafts, the cheery upbeat dispositions, the sleepovers, the obligations, the expectations, the rules, the politics, the silent judgements and unspoken competition, the mean girls mixed in with the nice girls, the constant participation… the cookie selling… oh my word, the cookie selling!
And yet, to my arts and crafts loving, adventurous, social, stable, semi-confident girl, it’s a blast. Which would be great if it was just her having to attend the meetings, having to sell the cookies, having to deal with the mom-thing, but it’s not. It’s one of those mom sacrifices for the sake of your child that, to me, is complete misery.
So what’s a miserable “can’t hang” mom do? Switch troops. Switch to a troop that’s more lax about the rules, that’s less competitive, that doesn’t even sell cookies! Woo hoo! Only to discover that your kid isn’t like you.
She likes the meetings. She likes the sleepovers. She likes the arts and crafts and activities and hanging out with her familiar friends. She even likes selling cookies.
And now, she’s in a troop where she only knows one other friend and isn’t motivated to go. She wants to be where she feels comfortable. And who can blame her. Isn’t that what my goal has been all along?
Having come from a background where moving a lot and having to acclimate to different schools and make new friends was the norm, I had this view that it would be good for her to not be stuck in a bubble of the same friends, year after year, activity after activity, that will eventually develop into a “click”. Clicks were the bane of my existence throughout my childhood, something even as an adult I despise. I live in a community full of clicks, and not the clicks I jive with, but the Breakfast Club era jocks and princesses I can’t relate to while I’m over here brooding with John Bender over tales of burn marks, “You see that? It looks about the size of cigar. You see, I don’t think I need to deal with you fucking dildos anymore.”
I do not want my child to develop into a “click” – especially a jock and princess click – and yet, she is not me. She is not John Bender.
That’s the goal, isn’t it?
Oh how I hate Girl Scouts, and the social momdom, and the constant participation. The boxing matches I have with myself in my head where the angry antisocial insecure rebel in me fights the confident social go-getter with a barrage of one-two punches is exhausting. That’s me. That’s my fight. It is not my girl’s fight.
Once again, Girl Scouts kicks my ass with a life lesson – my child is not me. She is her own beautiful, much more well-adjusted self. She is on her own path, whatever it may be and however different from my own it is.
She’s opted to quit the new troop I put her in and we will try to get back into the original one. I will walk with my tail between my legs and my head held high back to the lion’s den.
Because it’s not about me. Because my daughter is not me.
*Update: We never returned to Girl Scouts. She decided to be done, and I decided never again. When the moms from the original troop said she couldn’t come back because they didn’t want me involved anymore, it was clear that it’s not really Girl Scouts, it’s Mom Scouts.