The Parent I Was Going to Be

Friday, August 31, 2012 13 Comments A+ a-

1344886845093_3235015Before I actually became a mama, I had such a clear idea of what the perfect mother looked like.  I had a list of dos and in my head and such clarity as to how my list would shape and mold my children into reaching their highest potential as human beings.  (Does anyone else have a loud voice laughing in their heads?!)

Each time I ate out at restaurants, or shopped in the grocery stores, or interacted with kids on any level, I silently judged the parent when a discipline was meted out, or when the child went undisciplined completely.  Before kids, I had all the answers, I knew exactly how I’d handle each situation.  And when a random parent allowed their child to tantrum in the checkout line ahead of me, they’d get a long side glance from me, usually accompanied with a head shake or two. MY child would never act that way in public. 

Oh pious, holier than thou, pre-kid, Jenn, I want to go back and slap you silly.  But its true, I was a better mother before I actually had kids.

BEFORE KIDS

IN REALITY

  • I will never get frustrated when my babies cry.  They cry, it’s a fact of life.
  • I never accounted for the 5 hours of crying without a break.  The crib became theirs (and my) safe haven.
  • Snacks will only be nutritious.  I had visions of carrots with hummus, and ants on a log with celery, peanut butter, and raisins.
  • Now when my Littles aren’t fending for themselves, a bag of fruit snacks or cheetos are tossed their way.
  • I will spend x number of hours with each child every day, ensuring each child has quality one-on-one time.
  • Each child is lucky to get x number of hours (as in one) in a week’s time.  Daily one-on-one time has now become condensed into 10 minutes at bed time.
  • My child will never throw a tantrum in a public setting.  They will be promptly removed from the situation and dealt with in the appropriate manner.
  • When you have a full cart and a tantruming 3-year-old screaming on the floor, you weigh the options of dealing with the attitude vs. the time it’ll take to come back and start grocery shopping all over again.  Grocery shopping sometimes wins.
  • Follow through.  Enough said.
  • Oh, I still believe follow through is important.  But I’ve learned over the years that once a battle line has been drawn, the parent must win.  So I draw fewer lines.  I pick my battles CAREFULLY now.
  • Time outs and discipline would be handled in the correct order… the explanation of the offense, the punishment, the time to reflect on the offense.
  • Bahaha!  I’ve learned that timeouts are often more for the parent than the child, that time in which I count to 10 and calm my own self before dealing with the child. I have never reacted first, then explained! (Ahem. Sarcasm.)
  • I would never resort to bribery to get my child to obey.
  • Whoever said this obviously never had a 3- almost 4-year-old who refused to potty train.  Or 4 kids who would behave without the promise of a cookie at the end of the grocery shopping trip.
  • TV would be considered a privilege, and an hour a day at the most.
  • Who am I kidding? I want to shower in peace, and/or have 5 minutes of quiet time. I won’t tell you how often the TV babysits.

A few more things I never thought of, or anticipated in my days of “perfect parenting”.

  • That what works for one child, doesn’t work for another.  And just when you think you have it figured out, the next child throws you a curve ball.
  • That I would become such a laidback parent.  I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I had to throw out my list of dos and don’ts.  Otherwise, I knew I’d drive myself crazy trying to do it all.
  • That every heartbreak in school is magnified by 100% when its your child who experiences the same.  The urge to take it away is strong, and its debilitating knowing they have to figure it out on their own.
  • That the very things you swore you’d never say: Not right now… Because I said so... Just wait until your father gets home… fall easily from your lips.
  • That moment when you realize your parents actually knew what they were doing, and not only do you respect them for it, you realize you don’t mind turning out like them.

Sigh.  I’d love to be the perfect parent, the one who has it all together and knows exactly how do to handle each situation.  But I’m ok with the parent I’m turning out to be.  I read somewhere that our children don’t want the perfect parent, they want us, flaws and all.  In their eyes, we ARE the perfect parent.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

13 comments

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Taylor
AUTHOR
10:42 AM delete

Oh man. I love this so much. So much. And I can completely relate to you! We're the perfect parents for our children because God chose us to be!

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Tickled Pink
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10:43 AM delete

This was a great post!! I agree with so much of it! :)

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Sonja
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10:54 AM delete

I love this post! I used to say that "when I have kids they will never..." then Kinsley does something and I always laugh at her. She does no wrong in my eyes ha!

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Natalie
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11:35 AM delete

Love Love Love Love..

The best parenting advice, hands down, I ever received & pass on when I can is PICK YOUR BATTLES.

Not everything is worth going into WW3 over. The patience you learn when their toddlers will help you immensely in the teen years.

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12:58 PM delete

Love this post! True for everyone.... Very good parenting and specially future parents post!

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Christine
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1:53 PM delete

I laughed out loud when I saw the cartoon at the top.
I can relate to SO much of this! Especially with picking battles carefully, bribing children to help have a successful grocery shopping trip and using the TV for a moment to yourself. Man, this stuff is much harder when you're living it every day-especially when you have more than one child.

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[diane]
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2:52 PM delete

I was just talking about something I said I'd "never do when I became a parnet." You're right - each kid is different and before I was a parent I was quick to judge. Now we shake our head not in dismay but in sympathy.

Have a great holiday weekend!!

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Elizabeth
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3:46 PM delete

GREAT post!! Everything you said is so true! And I only have one! :)

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Abbie
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8:51 PM delete

Wow. This is me in nutshell!!! I love this post!!!!!

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Christi
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9:15 AM delete

Love this post! I wore myself out trying to be the " perfect" parent. I glad I realized my kids just want my time and my love.

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3:51 PM delete

ok this could have been written by me...

my first child didn't watch tv until he was 18m old and that was b/c he got the tummy bug for weeks...child #6 was prob watching from inside the womb...hello...i have to cook dinner or take a shower...or heck fire eat a meal and need 5 mins!! hee hee

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Jillian
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7:37 PM delete

Im laughing at all of these! So true so true!

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Ali Thompson
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7:13 PM delete

Further evidence that I'm not cut out to be a mom (of humans). I don't even have an idealized view of being a mom now! On the first point - I don't think I would ever have my child cry and NOT be frustrated. Nothing grates my ears like the sound of a crying baby. It makes me want to wither up in a ball in some soundproof closet. On the second point - well, my diet is a great indication of how my kids would eat. I could go on but I'll leave it by saying that when all you have to feed your kids is kibbles, meal after meal, it's much easier. :)

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