This notion of a “good parent” or “bad parent” has run its course with my emotions. I’ve been a mom of three for almost a full four weeks now and balance is the only thing stressing me out. I’ve already had moments where all three or two kids are crying at once. When it’s bath time and one wants to bathe while the other is taking forever in the shower and I still haven’t even grabbed clothes for the other. When it’s time to eat and my middle child is trying to take bottles and fries. Yeah, I know, it sounds hectic, but it hasn’t been all that bad. What has been making me feel bad though is my decision making which in turn has made me question if I’m a bad parent or not.
I’m not sure where I got this thought of me being a “bad parent” from because truthfully, I need to get those words out of my vocabulary. The only type of bad parent to me are those you see on the news for doing harm or worse to their children and I don’t need to go into detail on that. It’s unfortunate and those babies do not deserve that. So, to consider myself such for giving my child a lollipop and a juice box instead of pancakes and apple juice when she first wakes up shouldn’t even equate. But some way, somehow my mind keeps telling me, “You’re a really shitty mother for that.” I try to make things as easy as possible for myself, especially now, so if a lollipop and juice box will settle one kid while I change clothes for another and prep a bottle for the other then I need to stop seeing the problem in my decision making.
I have this idea of the parent I want to be however I’m starting to feel that’s not at all the parent my children need. I’ve been told that I’m a pushover and “if I don’t change the kids will walk all over me” amongst other things. I can’t say that those opinions don’t feel true when I have a moment to actually breathe and be aware of what’s happening in certain situations. While on the other hand I feel like kids are kids, they’ll go to whoever they think they’ll get their way with in that moment – whether it’s the parent or person they prefer or not – and things will get easier as they get older. It may come with attitudes and mumbling under the breath instead of crying and pouting, but it’s going to come with something either way. I don’t want to be judged for how I parent and I also don’t want to feel pressured to change who I am in general in order to make others feel like I’m doing “the right thing(s)” as a parent. I don’t want my children to fear me which I feel is the issue with so many now. Fear doesn’t necessarily mean your children will respect you ever really. Fear doesn’t scream “I love you” or make them feel comfortable to come to you for anything. If anything, fear is what makes them avoid you and go to the other parent or worse, go looking for “love” – in all the wrong places. So, when you’re left wondering why your child/ren prefer the other parent over you think about the way YOU parent and how it may not be so “right”.
When parents openly admit or show that they want their children to fear them I automatically know it’s because they need to feel superior. But why with children of all people? Are you that much of a punk that you can’t say what you need to say to other adults, so you have to come home and make your child/ren feel less than? Those kids don’t need to fear you right now or ever and depending on their age they don’t even know who they are yet so why do you want them to fear you? That’s not normal and I don’t care how anyone takes that. I don’t want to feel like I have to put fear in my kids hearts in order for them to respect me. And I don’t feel like “giving them their way” makes me weak when really it’s making things easier for me seeing as how I’m with them 24/7, 365. A huge part of parenting is also how YOU were raised and being able to differentiate between what was and wasn’t okay. Every little detail matters too from how your parents talked to you to their version of discipline to them telling your business to others to how they hurt you and probably didn’t apologize. When I think of parenting, I think of how everything is going to shape the relationship between my children and I. So, whether they get waffles, nuggets, a bag of chips or candy for breakfast the fact that they’re eating is what matters. Whether I ignore them, say something that hurts them – directly or not – or they feel they aren’t heard, my apology is what matters not letting them know that I’m an adult – to make myself feel bigger. Or letting them choose crocs instead of sneakers for a day out it’s me making sure that they’re heard and comfortable that matters not making a big deal over which shoes they wear when they’re all going to be walked in and messed up eventually anyway – plus crocs are comfortable so I completely get it.
My kids are young, so I have a ways to go before I start worrying about how they see me. Right now, I can do no wrong in their eyes, so I want to make sure that I literally do no wrong. It’s my job to be their mother, guide them, let them know that mistakes happen, help build their confidence and make sure that I start now at their tender ages. Motherhood is not always fun nor easy and it’s very emotional for me. Some days my reward is being able to cry or shower alone while other days its knowing I was able to get all of my children some clothes, books or toys they wanted. I said all of that to say that for any parent, regardless of how much others may judge you, THE ONLY OPINIONS THAT MATTER ARE THOSE OF YOUR CHILD/REN. If your babies or baby are happy, healthy and you guys have an understanding then nothing else matters. I know it’s easier said because I’m still learning too, but somebody needs to tell you. YOU are doing things the “necessary way” for you and yours. Please, don’t change that for the satisfaction of others.
- A mother.