Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Conflict

I hate conflict. Odd that I would then choose journalism as a profession, yes?

But truthfully where I come into most conflict? As a mother.

Before The Kid was born I had learned to navigate potential minefields by spotting them miles ahead. I had a conflict radar eons wide and if I so much smelled a problem, I would dart the other way. I perfected a wide smile, a small laugh, was expert at changing subjects in group environments, and surgical with quips designed to deflect tension.

Then The Kid was born and I discovered that her very existence attracted conflict like shark to chum. Having a child means engaging with other parents. And get a group of parents together and the needs that radiate from them are vibrant: Is my son reading level lower than his best friend? Will her teacher like her? How did their daughter get into that college? Do her parents like me? These are often not topics that are dispelled with "Can you believe what Snooki did?"

I find all of it dramatically uncomfortable, even more so because of course I have my own parental insanity going on as well. Alone, writing, focusing on my work, or with my family at home I can keep the gremlins in their proper perspective. If The Kid, The Prince and I are happy and laughing, nothing really much else matters -- or matters as much.

But it's September -- or will be next week. And the great lull of summer is about to be punctuated by that fall frenzy. I love the change of seasons, love when the cool weather comes back. Just hope it can keep all things cool as well.

2 comments:

sarah said...

it is so hard; I went to an all-girl high school & so making friends with women has always been fraught with anxiety for me--making friends with women who have children that my child interacts with just adds another level to that neurosis. I find that I stick with the 2-3 women I feel drawn to personally & who are as uninterested in the drama as me. Fortunately, up to this point, my 4 yo has happily befriended their kids as well, so its all worked out.

But I made the mistake of volunteering for the parent counsel & now I can't hide as well from The Crazy as I once could. We're one meeting in & I'm already twitchy.

Manhattan Mama said...

Sarah, I absolutely love the phrase "The Crazy." So perfect! I think you're right it's all happens when we volunteer....a dear friend (one who avoids the drama as well) swears she's going to print up a T-shirt for me that says just "NO." So need it.