Things I Won’t Write About This Year

As a parent, I see so many different methods, rules, suggestions, ways to parent it’s tough to tell who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s hard to tell which method will work and which ones won’t. Well, not until 20 years later and we look back using our perfect hindsight vision and wish would would have done, said, reacted, taught, reared, our kids differently.

Looking ahead is difficult. We don’t know exactly how our kids will react to certain rules, certain consequences, the various methods of time outs and the whole reward/punishment philosophy. Over my 9 + 5 years of parenting I’ve used my own strategies and I’ve used suggestions from others. What I have learned the most are the kind of parents I dislike the most.

Parents who allow unlimited screen time  

They explain that technology is the way of the future why should their child not embrace it. They might as well learn it now and get a head start. They seem to instinctively know how it all works anyway. Besides, when they’re on their phone/tablet/computer/game console they aren’t out running the roads getting into trouble.

Parents who are strict with screen time

These parents are almost obsessive with how much time their child spends in front of a screen playing games. They justify it by arguing that there are more important things to do than play video games. They expect their child to engage in physical play, use imagination, interact with others, and in general – learn.

Babies who are breastfed

They say repeatedly that the benefits of breastfeeding are immeasureable. Antibodies, vitamins, that it provides ample nutrition for proper growth of body and brain. It’s convenient in that the baby can be fed anywhere with no prep work. It’s almost a celebratory event when a mom’s milk comes in.

Babies who are bottle fed

Some moms just aren’t physically able to breastfeed. Perhaps they don’t produce enough milk. Perhaps they see their breasts as something sexual and feel uncomfortable breastfeeding. Perhaps the baby isn’t able to breastfeed. If they can’t latch properly, they can’t eat. If they’re lactose intolerant and power puke after feeding, then they won’t eat. 

Tiger parents, helicopter parents, free range parents, snow plow parents
Some parents push their kids to succeed, even at an extremely early age. Some parent hover over their child to make sure those who influence their child do so in a way that benefits the child. Some parents allow their child the freedom to be and do what they want. Some parents push aside all problems their child might encounter before the child even knew the problem was a possibility. 

I won’t write about any of them. They’re all right. They’re alright. I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: So long as your child is happy, healthy, and educated, keep on keeping on. Do what is right for you, your child, and your family. Never mind what that other mom is doing to survive her children. We’re just doing the best we can with what we’re given. No one knows how it’ll all turn out in the end.

When the Stars Align

So much can go right when the stars align. Usually, we only recognize it after the fact. Hindsight being 20/20 and all. Mountains become mole hills. The wind is at our back and it’s smooth sailing. Your pizza is hot, your Coke is cold, and your team is winning.

Spaghetti Meat SauceWhen the stars align you make the perfect amount of spaghetti and sauce, for example. You know the stars are speaking to you when not only is the spaghetti and sauce in equal amounts, but there’s just the right amount left over for lunch the next day. They even finish cooking at the same time. Everything’s hot hot hot! Cha ching!

When the stars align everyone is ready for school early. This never back-to-school-backpackhappens! Feeding faces. Packing lunches. Filling water bottles. Writing notes to teachers. Getting everyone dressed. Making sure backpacks and school bags are loaded. Getting snow clothes on. Getting the trash to the curb because it’s garbage day. Having time to shave the morning. Thank you stars!

When the stars align the kids play nicely. It was nearly an entire half hour they played together. Well, it more resembled parallel play than it did cooperative play. These days, we’ll take what we can get. One built Lego buildings. The other played with Thomas trains. We built a train depot. We built two pedways over the rails and one under. These pedways lead to the hospital. There are even two “working” windmills! The stars have spoken.

When the stars align the kids are asleep before 8pm. All is quiet. We eat ice cream without sharing. No one’s screaming because their brother is “hooking”. No one is growling because their tablet time is up. While the din of the day can be pleasant, even joyful at times, we forget what silence sounds like until the kids are abed. I hear you, stars!

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When the stars align you get the hotel pool to yourself. There’s no line in the 10 items or less checkout. You find shirts in just right the color for your family photo. Ice cream goes on sale. You’re blog gets views.

When the stars align, good things become great things. Small things get noticed. All the silver linings appear. The world seems right again. You’re ready for a fresh day, to start anew. Enjoy it when it happens because they won’t be aligned for long. The kids will wake up in the morning and it’ll be business as usual.

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Good Enough

So I’ve been thinking lately, how good is good enough? How much is too much? How much is not enough? What’s “just right”? Is there even such a thing as just right? How do I know when I’ve crossed any of these lines?

Parenting is a tough task. There are manuals and instruction books. There are internet articles describing personal opinions. There are some scientific studies. There are guidelines. But really, is there any one right answer?

There are books about how to get your baby to sleep. Guidelines about what and how much your kid should be eating and drinking. There are recommendations about exercise and screen time and time spent reading. There are suggestions about potty training and breast feeding and what to pack for their school lunch. There are also some pretty strong opinions about what not to feed your kids. But how do we know what’s right?

Some say there is no such thing as perfect. There is no perfect parent. I beg to differ. I say if you’re kids are happy, healthy, and educated, you are the perfect parent. Here’s how to tell what’s right for your kid. You take all of those of opinions, guidelines, suggestions, studies, and recommendations and toss them right out the window. On a busy highway. With lots of transfer trucks. Or you could drown those ideologies in the ocean. Or burn them in wood stove. Or an active volcano.

There really is no exact right. There is no one size fits all. Especially in parenting. There certainly is a wrong, of course. But perfect is whatever works for your kid. How we got our kids to sleep all night will be different from what others do. How could one book instruct us all? How we got our sons potty trained is different from how others will do it. And I’m not even going to get started on that lactation consultant who attempted to help DW in hospital.

So how much is too much? How much is not enough?

How do I know we’re perfect parents? Because we doubt ourselves nearly every step of the way. We question ourselves… What the hell are we doing wrong? We question the kids… What the hell is wrong with them?

So, how good is good enough? How much is too much? How much is not enough? What’s “just right”? Is there even such a thing as just right? How do I know when I’ve crossed any of these lines? That’s for us to decide for ourselves. We have put aside what the “experts” say because they are not experts on our kids. We are. We live with the heathens which makes us the experts on our kids. No one knows them like we do.  We have discovered “too much” and it ain’t pretty. We have found “not enough” and it’s uglier than a blobfish. We found our perfect and it works, well… perfectly.


Did I write this just to make myself feel adequate? Most likely. Are we perfect parents? Damn straight we are.