I read a lot of blogs. A couple I read regularly, like Momastry and Peanut Butter Fingers. One is a mom who tells it like it is, through in an incredible journey of love, difficult decisions and issues and even her own battles with sickness, the other is just a daily read from this way pretty, way perky twenty something- that, for some reason, I enjoy reading- about what she ate, did and is about to do. Strange, I know.
On the flip side I have read some blogs that, well… make me…feel.. so.. inadequate when I read them. Not to say that these people don’t exist, and that I am probably sooo the minority here, and I do get good tips from them. Ideas even. These are what I call the perfect moms. Moms that make all the right decisions. Live to be a mom. Never complain about being a mom, and even have suggestions on how YOU can be a better mom-maybe even close to how good of a mom they are. YIPPEE.
I am not a perfect mom. I am not even sure I want to be one.
I started thinking about all the time and energy us parents spend on the details and worry of parenting-in order to be perfect, so that perhaps our kids will be perfect. We fuss over whether we are doing things right, or damaging our kids by not doing something, or providing the right things.
To breastfeed or not to breastfeed. To home school or not to home school. Organic or non organic. Immunize or don’t immunize. Public school or private school. To work, or to stay home. This list can be endless.
So can the judgements.
I went to 14 different schools in 13 years (ALL public). Actually I went to over 16 but I get lost in the paper trail. My birth parents didn’t know each other, didn’t even like each other yet they made a baby (you do the math) and even tried marriage. 6 months later they put that to bed and just made do (divorce). My mom tells me I was breastfeed, though while she was smoking. At. The. Same. Time.
I was born in California and at age 4ish my mother took me and my younger brother (from her 2nd husband) and ran to Ohio (she was running from the 2nd husband-he was quite abusive). From then on I flew back and forth and completed grades of school depending on where I was. Some years I attended more than one school….my mother and I moved a lot..you could say we were prompted to move (eh heghm…some may even call it eviction…just sayin’). Some years I spent in California with my dad, mostly. Some in Ohio with my mom, mostly.
I also lived with aunts, grandparents, and even my best friend and her family.
I got around. Literally. I think I even lived with one of my mom’s friends, though the memory is a bit convoluted..could be she lived with the friend and I lived with someone else. Can’t fully remember.
BUT..in all this I was a pretty happy kid. I did experience some not so perfect scenarios, like getting spanked in the middle of a Columbus West Side street for playing with a black little girl (yes bless my deceased grandfather who just didn’t understand that prejudice is ignorance). Or the many times I had to go to the door and tell the landlord that, “no my mommy is not home”, even though she-my mother- was hiding in the bedroom. Or when my beloved cousin and I explored abandoned drug homes at the age of 8 (or maybe nine?) because it was fun. PS- there were some way COOL things to find!
But I am so glad I did experience these things. They taught me so much.
KNOW THIS: my parents did the best they could. I don’t think ill of my childhood at all. I am grateful for it. Completely. And I do have some fantastic memories.
What I am trying to say is that I almost worry that by my protecting my children from everything-that I am doing them a disservice.
Not that I want them to go explore a drug home…at least I don’t think I do.
Perhaps they need to know that life isn’t a pretty wrapped box. They need to be told no. To have consequences. To earn things. To work hard. To do chores….that they don’t get paid to do. They need to experience. Real life. Which isn’t scheduled, lined up or handed to them. They need to learn that they are not entitled to anything but what they work for.
I came out pretty good if I say so myself. OK, maybe pretty good can be a stretch…I am MOSTLY pretty good. I have my issues. But that is character….right?
***FOR THOSE WANNA BE PSYCHIATRISTS, OR EVEN REAL ONES- I AM SURE I MAY HAVE PLENTY OF PENT UP ISSUES. Don’t we all?***
One thing is for sure; I am not perfect. By any means. But my imperfection includes my desire to live, to work hard, to achieve. I don’t have victims disease or an attitude of entitlement. This is due to my adventurous and not so perfect childhood.
Here it is. In a nutshell.
DON’T GET TOO WRAPPED UP IN THE DETAILS.
Wanting better, or the best, for our kids is great. I do too.
Relax. Enjoy the process of parenting-or try to. Parenting is hard enough without worrying if every choice we make is perfect. When things don’t work out..it is because there is a lesson to be learned, something else to be gained. Be open-minded. Lead with love in your thoughts, or actions, toward others and their ways. Not condemnation.
If we spent a fraction of the energy that we use in judging those that chose to breast feed versus those that don’t, or those that use Pampers versus those that use cloth diapers—instead on those children that have no parents at all—what a better world this would be. If you want to put your energy somewhere- put it on the parent-less children. On the children that are really suffering.
My daughters (the two and ten-year old) are dancing and want me to dance right now. I think I will. I will grasp their hands and dance.
That I have provided them with enough experiences to handle…life. Because life is not always pretty, easy or…perfect.
Then I will finish this glass of wine. And hope my kids don’t become alcoholics.