Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ways I Think I'm Screwing Up My Children

Behind every great kid is a mom who's pretty sure she's screwing it up.
My kids ARE pretty great.

This is one of the downsides of so much information at our fingertips.  It's hard to remember that the people (and doctors!) who have written all the parenting articles and advice definitively telling you how you should be raising your children did so with zero knowledge of your actual life and circumstances.  I agree there are some basics we should all follow: don't shake a baby, feed your children, make sure they sleep at some point.  But most of it is up for debate and really needs context.  All that to say, I know I get quite a bit of this parenting thing wrong.  Here are a few ways:

Today is Honey Pie's 4th birthday.  I don't think I've ever done birthdays right.  The over-the-top parties are out of the question, but I'm not talking about those.  I just want them to be celebrated, but I've never found the line of what is not enough and what is too much.  The old advice of "You don't need things to make them feel special on their birthday" doesn't help me.  Do I need to always invite our family over for their parties?  Now that I've done it for a few years, do I have to stick to it lest they feel shorted?  Can I really do one thing for one girl but not for the other?  Anyway, I've never really felt good about how we celebrate birthdays, but it's one of those things that I'll just have to keep trying and hope that the girls aren't scarred for life.

The only extracurricular activity we've ever done is Awana and the two-week swimming lesson session in the summer.  This is a money issue.  Pumpkin Pie actually won a free uniform and a month of Tae-Kwon-Do lessons (lessons?) and I thought this might be a great way to try it.  But I've held off, because I don't know what would happen at the end of the month.  Do I want to give her the month to try it, and just stop if we can't continue paying for it, or do we not even start things at all?

To date, only my older two have ever seen a fireworks show in person.  And only my oldest has seen more than one.  When Honey Pie was about 8 months old we did the Independence Day thing.  Then it took us over an hour to get home that night.  Pumpkin Pie has also seen a fireworks show that my in-law's town does the day before Thanksgiving.  I actually like that one because it's not late at night, thanks to early darkness at that time of year.  But it's just been too easy to just stay home and put them to bed, rather than battle the crowds AND the Way Past Bedtime crazies.  They might need therapy for this one.

Using "no" as my reflex answer.
I confess.  I do.  I automatically say no.  Every time.  It's like I can't help it.  I know I shouldn't, but it just pops out of my mouth.  My first goal is to count to 10 before saying no.  Maybe if I can conquer that, then I'll be able to stop saying it so often.  I want to train myself to stop thinking of the mess or the interruption it's caused to my day and say yes when it's really not that big a deal.  I can just pray that this is something that will be lost in the haze of early childhood when they think back to this time of their lives.

No neat little bow to tie up this one.

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