Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shame by KP

“I would never work in an office,”my daughter announced, again dismissing my husband’s career. “Too boring.” She and my other daughter sat, leaning in towards each other, discussing the events of their day while my husband and I sat in silence, staring one another, picking at our dinners, feeling diminished somehow.

“I couldn’t stay home with my children. Couldn’t cook or clean or watch kids all day.” And it was my turn to feel embarrassed and dull.

To our daughters’cool appraising eyes, we no longer measure up.

“It’s a stage,” my mother tells me.

“It’ll pass,” my sister assures me.

But watching my husband rise before sunup to pay the bills; watching myself cleaning chicken for their dinner, I am angered.

I wonder whether, by giving our children everything theyneed, we have failed them somehow.

I want to tell my children that perhaps their father also finds working in an office boring. That perhaps he sacrificed this own dreams to help make theirs come true.

Maybe that would shame them into pride.


  1. I've been thinking about this since I first read it last night. First, it's perfectly written. Tight and evocative (not to mention highly relatable). But what's been with me all this time is the near certainty that one day your girls will get it, they'll understand all the hard work and sacrifice you and your husband put in to raising them. And they'll be deeply grateful. I think your mother and your sister are right.
    (Fingers crossed anyway.)

  2. Those stages. They are so hard to tough our way through. Both the ones we are in, and those our children go through.

    Great post.

  3. As the mom of two adult kids, fortunately if they felt this way, they never voiced it. Very well written.

  4. Thank you for joining us for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. I loved your piece, and I think there are a lot of people who can strongly identify with at least one side of the argument presented here. Sadly, I think part of being a parent is encouraging your kids to have more than what you have. They're supposed to want more for themselves. It's just a shame that they're usually unable to couch that in polite words. Thank you for this, and I hope you'll come back next week.

  5. This totally ruled. I have been that asshole kid, acting as if when I actually felt like a loser.
    And I love the idea of being able to shame someone into feeling pride.
    This was amazing.