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Sorry, so not sorry.
Let's agree to disagree.
Lately, I've noticed a quiet but significant movement on social media toward discouraging people from sharing good news about their kids. The idea is that there are many parents struggling through rough times with their children educationally, emotionally, mentally, physically. Those parents don't get to share the same honor roll and all-star stories that others gloat nonstop about, so if we all could just refrain from posting about our children's fabulousness, that'd be great.
I understand it, of course. I just don't agree with it.
The problem is not that the other parents don't have kids who bring home all A's and B's, and it has nothing to do with the fact that little Johnny didn't make the all-star team or sweet Susie didn't get picked for the dance line. The problem is that parents see success as a very flat, traditional concept - grades, athletics, talents - but success is so much more than that.
That's where "Momming out loud" blips onto the radar screen. It's so much more than sinking ships and Flying Monkeys. Yeah, we all have days when we're pretty sure we eliminated any chances our children had at a psychotherapy-free life. But, for the most part, our lives aren't as bad as we think. If we could step into someone else's perspective for a moment, we would hopefully/probably see ourselves in a very different light. We are, after all, our own worst critics 99% of the time.
One of the greatest parts of "Momming out loud" is the sorrynotsorry sharing of parenting successes. Surely you can think of times when your kids were a joy and you felt like a parenting master. You should share that without fear of judgment. You have the right to be happy.
Let me repeat that - You, yes YOU, have the RIGHT to be HAPPY.
What you choose to be happy about is the issue.
If your kid makes the honor roll for the gajillionth time, it's okay to be proud. If your kid receives a prestigious award, let the world know. On the other hand, your kid might struggle in school. He might be lucky to get his clothes on right-side out each morning, or she may be fighting who-knows-what demons from which you can't save her, no matter how many good intentions you hurl her way.
If that's the case, personalize your view of success. Feel free to announce that he slept through the night or ate his vegetables without being bribed. Maybe she chose to read a book instead of watch yet another episode of whatever adult-belittling drivel Disney and Nickelodeon are serving up that day.
Whatever it is that makes you feel good about the job you're doing as a parent, share it. Don't worry about the feelings of every Tom, Jane and Mary who roll their eyes that you're once again gushing about those kids. They're your kids - you should be proud of them, and you have the right to share that.
It's really all about attitude. There was a time when I thought I wanted my kids to be number one at everything. When I finally cut the competitiveness out of my life and tried to focus on enjoying the little moments, my perception of my own parenting abilities improved.
My daughter didn't get asked to be in the club she wanted to join? Good!
I would rather she be in the classroom learning than experiencing the pressure of living up to extracurricular rules and expectations at this point in her short life. We encourage her to develop interests and to pursue them with passion and determination. But she has her whole life to be pressured to do more. For now, let her enjoy being a kid.
When sent to pick out clothes, my kid came back in her Easter dress, superhero cape and rain boots and (GASP!) people might see how funny she looks? Let them laugh!
She will someday be a teenager who feels pressured to assimilate into the peer-pressured hordes of conformity. For today, let her traipse into the grocery store like she is there to save the day. Maybe she will hold onto a little of that individuality and the joy of her own style will shield her from the pain of caring so much about what others think.
My toddler can't speak as well as others but she can wag her chubby little finger at her sisters, unleash an only-makes-sense-to-her tirade and stand her ground when they try to mother her into submission? Yes!
There will be many times in the future when I'll tell her to be quiet or to speak clearly. In her life's travels, she will meet many people who expect her to follow their rules just as her sisters do now. She'll catch up to the other kids on her own schedule. For this moment, she is a little girl who doesn't always use her words, and that's okay. Soon enough, she will be a young lady, and I will never again hear that baby babble or get to laugh at her toddler tirades.
Our girls question our choices and don't always blindly follow our instructions? I'm okay with that.
No, I'm not celebrating it, but I don't always demand they fall in line like perfect soldiers either. They need to feel free to ask, "why" and to know that their opinions and input are appreciated. There is a mightily fine line between disciplining a child and squashing their spirit, and, admittedly, I can sometimes be a squasher.
But I'm trying, and isn't that the greatest thing I can do for my kids? Keep trying, and when I think I have failed, try some more.
I do fail. All the time. But there are those days when the Universe aligns just right, and all is well in our part of the Parenting Sea. Nobody asked us to be Little Susie Super Kid, normally dressed or perfectly enunciated, and we were able to question authority without fear of retribution.
I'm not sorry I share how awesome our kids are and won't stop talking about them. They're pretty rockin' amazing. I just wish more parents could step back and realize that their kids are, too - not for the home run hit or the perfect pirouette but for all the little moments that make being a kid so great.
We celebrate those moments. They may not come with certificates and accolades, but they come with happy kids, satisfied parents and the feeling that maybe, just maybe, we're doing something right after all.