Monday, June 10, 2013

Skeletons in the Closet

I have a skeleton or two in my closet; who doesn’t? Of course, it’s all relative. Things I’ve done or said that I’ve locked in the closet are things that other people consider mild and part of their daily lives. Those same things may cause other people to criticize. Who’s the judge?

Recently, I was reading a blog and left a comment admitting that I told my daughter, who was three at the time, to “shut up.” A year or so prior to me saying that direct, harsh little phrase, I’d heard a relative say it to her child. I looked at the relative—puzzled. She read my mind and responded with a smirk that suggested, “You just wait until your children ‘pluck your nerves.’”

Ohhh, but I’d always said, “Be quiet please,” to my daughters until that day when I was backing out of the garage, late, trying not to rip off my side view mirrors, my two kids strapped in car seats, pregnant with another one, and Girl #1 began to whine, threatening to set off Girl #2.

I couldn’t blame PMS… hmmm…

Anyway, the disgusting, chewed up little pacifier that she was addicted to, stopped bobbing and hung from her mouth like a cigarette as she stared at me in disbelief—the mother who taught her not to say “shut up.”

I took a moment to apologize and to explain how adults don’t always act mature and calm and that I’ll try not to say it again.

That episode—a very small skeleton, was put into the closet in order to maintain the perfect mother façade like some of my compadres had… and they still do. It amazes me how I still hear a gasp here and there when women are gossiping  talking about someONE who’s done someTHING considered bad, as if they’ve always had halos glowing around their heads.

Okay, so I’ve probably been guilty of that, too… once… maybe?

Why do we do that? (Guys, too.) Remember the bible scripture (paraphrased), “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

I don’t see any need for people to air their dirty laundry unless they want to; or unless they’re a politician or pastor or something. And even then, it depends on what the dirty laundry is. Shouldn’t we be allowed to live in the present and to anticipate the future without the mistakes of the past haunting us. Do we need to recall over and over what we should or should not have done? Does that help us avoid making the mistake again? Maybe it “wasn’t” a mistake, but something that others would disapprove of.

As privacy is important to me, the minor “shut up” skeleton is about as much as I will post on a blog, if it’s indeed, a skeleton at all. As I’ve grown older, I feel that skeletal incidents require major offenses, and only those warrant a strong opinion. I’m not planning any of those incidents as my trajectory is faring well.


Image found here.


Unknown said...

We are sisters, my friend. I never allowed the girls to say, "shut up" and never said it to them. I might say, "Hush" but felt that the S-U word was bad. And then, one day, I said it too. I don't even remember what the factor that pushed me over the edge but I said it and I remember their eyes growing big. It was if the "perfect mommy" just flew out of the window and in it, they saw, the mommy that said a "bad word".

I love your description of the pacifier. Each of my girls had those "mouth pieces" from satan. I believe they were germ keepers on top of everything else. So glad when they kicked the habit. :) Great post.

joeh said...

I think shut up is pretty mild.

Unknown said...

My closet is overflowing and I won't share here today. Sometimes I think a book is in order! LOL But having said that, if I hadn't made some of the mistakes I had as a younger person I wouldn't have "grown" to be the person I am today. I still make mistakes. And hopefully, I'm still growing.

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Jenny said...

Honey. I think I need a whole separate storage building for my skeletons.


I seem to make less mistakes now, but those parenting years.


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Words are like toothpaste: once they are out of our mouths, they can either make a mess or they can be useful.
I've said a few things lately that make me cringe. Oh, how I wish I could take those words back and destroy them before they ever tripped off my tongue! ...but I can't...

My kids used to call it [s.u.] "the S word" which confounded more than a few people. O

Rebecca S. said...

To me, skeletons worthy of a closet are pretty serious things. Having a truly human moment as a parent and saying 'shut up' to an annoying child doesn't seem too serious an offense to me, especially since you apologized and tried not to do it (too often) again, right?
Frankly, in this 'anything goes' culture of ours, I'm surprised anyone has any skeletons in their closets at all! LOL. I mean, if a teenager got pregnant in the old days they would be sent away to some lied-about location for some lied-about reason. It was such a scandal for the family. Nowadays, around here at least, people just sigh and say, 'Oh, but she's so young!' and carry on. Gone are the days of bringing shame upon one's family, for the most part.
As you say, however, gossip is still alive and well.

Mage said...

Ah, but I have a lot of really big skeletons, and none of them hangout in my closet. My skeletons are unacceptable to most yet they are a day to day part of my life in recovery. I talk about mine all the time. :)

yonca said...

If I would say Aria 'shut up'..hmm..he would be surprised..i hear he uses it sometimes to a friend but not to me..
Have a great day, my friend!xx

Shelly said...

I can remember about the same reaction when I did the same with my oldest when she was about three. She still remembers it and calls it the time I said the S word.

Linda Hensley said...

When I was substitute teaching in a middle school I told an entire class to "shut up!!" The kids all turned on me and said that wasn't permissible. Little snots. Oh okay, I amended my words and asked them nicer to quiet down. The moment caused me to ponder whether or not I had actually done anything wrong or not. I'm still a bit undecided. Kids expect adults to be too perfect, and adults pressure each other for perfection too, and perfection isn't possible. Sometimes kids need to know they've pushed the substitute teacher too far, but it definitely helps when the adult has more tools in their vocabulary than what comes easiest.

Tabor said...

I have buried all my skeletons so very deeply that it would take one full day to dig them up to share!

Barb said...

Dear Anita, I will NEVER admit to skeletons and will try not to judge others who (might) have them. That said, sometimes I hear a rattling noise from my closet.

Abby said...

I'm sure I have some skeletons that I've blocked from my memory!

I used to have a coworker who often made racist comments as *jokes*. They bothered me, but I never said so. I just smiled and said nothing. I should've told him to shut up.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I am not a mom but I can definitely imagine a "shut up" here or there. (which is actually kinda mild) I'm guessing your kids don't remember it.

Happy weekend, jj

Hilary said...

I have skeleton moments in the parenting gig, which make me cringe. They are indelible in my mind and yet when discussed with my kids years later, they were scarcely remembered or completely forgotten.

I had a moment with my older son which sickened me at the time. He was about three and in the habit of pulling my hair.

After several days of it, many times a day, I thought I'd show him what it felt like. I grabbed a small lock of his very fine hair and gave it a tug.

To my shock and horror, the full lock released from his scalp and stayed in my hand. I did NOT pull extremely hard. I wanted him to feel the annoyance of hair being pulled, but his hair just wasn't very deeply rooted.

He never reacted in any way but with wonder at why my face was reflecting shock and distress. He asked me what was wrong. I showed him and apologized. He was surprised that it came from his own head because he never felt it. I felt utterly sick about it. He never pulled hair again.

There are other moments. But like this one, I'm surprised that they are not carried with my boys. They are indeed our own skeletons after all. May theirs have the same small effect on their own kids, down the road.

And of course, there are skeletons in other aspects of my life, aside from parenting. And quite possible more to create. As long as we learn from them, those old bones are important as teaching tools. We are, after all, a work in progress.

Annie Z said...

What I like most about your "shut up" story is that you then apologized for saying, gave an explanation and said you wouldn't say it again. That in itself is a wonderful lesson to your children.

We are all fallible. But it a sign of good character, when we can admit it and try to correct it.

Unknown said...

I need to speak with the creator of that image with the skeletons in the closets with the wooden plank keeping it shut. Have him or her email me at