Parenting - The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done
I have been thinking about what it takes to be considered a good parent. I recently received comments to a few of my hubs that criticized my parenting. It is one of those things that I thought I was doing a pretty good job at with all things considered. The comments I received have made me stop and think about a few things. As a mother I had to rethink my way of doing things but more than anything it has made me realize that you can't please everyone. You have to do the things you feel are right by you and your family.
Have you ever wondered if you were doing all you could as a parent or if you were even doing the right things? I have yet to find a step by step manual to tell me how to raise my kids. What kind of indications do you get when you are raising your children well? I guess if Social Services has not showed up yet you may be doing a pretty good job? Yeah.. but that is a little extreme. There are so many opinions, criticisms, and advice on how to raise children that it makes you stop and wonder if you are doing it right.
In The Beginning
I will have to say that raising children is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I came from a divorced family and lived with my mother. My father was never around and when he was there was a lot of drama. Lets just say it was not a good environment for children to be raised in. This is my opinion as someone who lived it and can look back on it. I did not have a very good foundation to work from as I started having children and began the journey of being a parent.
I knew in my mind how I wanted to do things and started my journey in 1999 with the birth of my first son. I was ready to take care of this baby and be the perfect parent. After day three I took him back to the doctor and told them that this was NOT the baby I had read about in all the pregnancy and baby books for nine months. He was colicky and screamed 16 out of a 24 hour day. He never slept and was so full of gas he was considered explosive. This crushed me and I soon realized that there were no manuals out there that could tell me how to take care of my baby. It was something that I did by feeling and what felt right is what I did. I did have guidance from doctors and a few good books along the way. But it was nowhere as easy as I thought it would be.
I had three other children and learned a great deal with each one of them as babies. None of them were the same as babies and each had their own personalities. I will have to say that it is a wonder I had anymore after the first one since he was so colicky. None of the others were like that and followed the “What to Expect When Expecting” book a lot better than he did. I got so many different opinions on what to do and how to take care of my babies along the way. Some advice I took while others I did not.
Helpful Guides on Parenting
As They Get Older
As you start developing skills as a parent and finding your own way it feels good. You know your children, what makes them tick, and how to make things right with them. You know what every cry means and what they need on a day to day basis to make them healthy and happy. They grow and then start telling you what they want and need. This is good and bad. They always want a lot more than they need. At least they can now verbalize things and express their feelings about things where you have to interpret a lot of that when they are babies. As they grow into older children they start disagreeing with you and telling you how much they don't like you when they can't get their way. You do what is best for them which doesn't always mean they will like it. I explain this to my children all the time but not sure it sinks in. They start to tell you things like, “I want to go live with my daddy” and “I never get anything” when they are mad at you. With one at twelve years old it has become very frustrating to hear some of the things that come out of his mouth to me. I think to myself, I have raised this child and he is so ungrateful. Then I realize that he has to learn and he is just twelve. It is a very difficult age to be. He wants to be grown but does not know how. It can be very difficult to handle as a mother. You question your actions and words everyday with your children. You can't help but wonder if you are doing things right. What can you do different to achieve the results you want?
Who Do You Have To Please?
There are so many different opinions on the proper way to raise kids and it can be a hard thing to keep up with. Trying to please everyone is a lost cause. I think that as long as your children are healthy, happy, and they like living with you is a good sign that things are going pretty good. You feel like you need the approval of your mother in this journey. So you look to her for advice and you sometimes hear from her about how she wouldn't do any of the things that you are doing with your kids. Never mind the fact that she didn't win any mother of the year awards either. Your friends have their opinions and each raise their children a little different than you do but you typically respect each others ways. If there are any ex's in the picture then you have a long road to prove to them and their family that you are doing anything right in raising your kids. If you let all of these people's opinions, comments, and sometimes criticisms get to you, it can make you wonder if you really do know what you are doing.
What do you do when someone criticizes your parenting? How does it affect you? It makes me rethink how I am doing things and I try to determine if their criticism is valid. I discuss it with my husband and get his input on if he thinks things are right or wrong. Sometimes I discuss issues of parenting with my friends who are also parents and get their input and advice. What else can you do? People have a right to say what they want and unfortunately don't think about how it affects others. Or maybe some people do know how it affects others and that is why they say the things they do.
Some recent criticisms that I have received (from the same person) and have had to question myself on.
“All you feed your children is pizza and hotdogs”. I initially laughed it off since it seemed like a stupid thing to say, even as a criticism. The person who made the comment has not seen me or been around me with my family for at least 7 years or more. So I did not take this criticism too seriously. My children eat a lot of pizza, hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, tacos, spaghetti, and anything else I can get them to eat. I have four children and getting them to even eat is a task. They all get positive marks on their yearly well visits for weight and height. They take daily vitamins and I stuff them with as many vegetables as I can get them to eat. Whatever I am doing is working. Should a mother be made to feel like she is doing something wrong by not cooking a massive meal every night like our grandmothers once did? My grandmother had a spread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am not like that. I cook a nice meal at least twice a week and the rest we eat quick meals. My mother had to prove herself wrong by continuing to cook huge meals with most of it going to waste when she visited. The children have a short list of things they like to eat. We work on that occasionally by trying new things but I focus on feeding my children what they will eat.
“The reason your son gets bullied in school is because you don't make him brush his teeth.” I was a little bothered by this comment since my son is twelve years old and brushes his teeth in the morning and most nights. Sometimes he doesn't brush his teeth at night. So what? He sees a dentist twice a year and his teeth are fine. How can someone say something like that to a mother? That I am the reason he gets bullied? Is it just ignorance or does this person really believe that it is my fault he gets bullied. Why would a mother want to do anything that would result in their child being bullied at school. Why would a mother not make their child do things like brush their teeth, wash their hair, take care of themselves? It seems that a lot of these tasks take up a large part of my day with all my children. If I didn't stay on them to do things like this I would have a lot more time in the day to do what I wanted to do.
Who Else Is Guilty?
Do you feed your children hotdogs or pizza at least once per week?See results without voting
Feel Good About Your Parenting
Criticisms like this leave you to find yourself questioning and justifying what you do with your children. I don't necessarily think it is bad to review what you do and look for areas to improve. I think it is bad for others to put mothers especially through the process of feeling guilty and the need to justify what they do with their children. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes in life. We all hope to learn from our mistakes and teach our children to do different than we did. I sure do have a lot of advice for my children on what not to do as adults. When can you sit back and feel good that you are doing things right as a parent? Or do you ever feel good about it? I have to look at the comments made to me and dismiss them. I know I am doing what I feel is right in my heart for my children and family. I get up everyday and take care of my children and run my household as best I can. I am sure I won't get an trophies but I feel good about what I do. If you receive criticisms that are truly not justified then you have to rely on how you feel deep down inside as a parent. I can't wait for my children to grow into adults and have their families. I hope to have a house full of family everyday to share things with and most of all share our crazy stories on them growing up and some of the mistakes that were made. I hope to laugh about them and not be resented for them.
A Letter To My Children
I have often thought about writing my children a letter for them to read when they become adults. It would start off something like this:
Dear __________ ,
I am writing this letter to let you know how much I love you. I raised you the best way I knew how. I know that you will be blaming me for things when you are older and have your own children. Just as I blamed my mother and she her mother. Just understand that I did not intentionally do the things that have scarred you for life or that you resent me for today........
I am not sure they will appreciate such a letter but it might help my cause as a parent. You know your kids have to have something to complain about as adults and tend to pick on their mothers. We are the reason for so many things including some of their flaws. As a mother, I have done the best I know how. My children are happy and healthy. They smile when they see me and tell me they love me everyday. What more can I ask for?
More by this Author
Let me introduce you to Gloria Mayfield Banks. She is an Elite Executive National Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. She is a multi-millionaire with over 6,000 consultants under her. She is truly an inspiration...
A Teddy Bear puppy is a designer breed that is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise. The Teddy Bear is an excellent choice of pet for a family with children. It is a small dog that will max out at about 12...
Yes, you read it correctly. High heels for men is a trend that seems to be picking up pace. I am not necessarily talking about cross dressing men or female impersonators. I am also talking about heterosexual men wearing...