Did the parents of my generation think about parenting? Did they constantly critique what they were doing and how they were doing it? Did their parents?
Did they go through stages of, “No, I shouldn’t serve corn dogs and fries just because I know my daughter will eat them. That will affect her in some way sentencing her to therapy later in life. I must be firm. I must stand my ground and serve the exact proper portions of proteins and vegetables.”?
Political correctness? Nah?
Emotional health? Sometimes, although…notsomuchmaybe.
Monitoring screen time? Huh? What’s “screen time”?????????????
Of course, no matter what ANYONE says, I do not believe that yesteryear parents dealt with things on the same level we do today in modern America. And, no matter what ANYONE says, I believe that the amount of technology running our lives, OVERRUNS our lives all too easily and pulls our kids in right along with it.
So, regardless of what was acceptable “back then” today is today.
I think about this a lot. I am a worrier. Self-admitted but also outwardly convicted. And, as a mom, as a single mom more importantly, I constantly assess how I’m doing in the field of child-rearing. I get mad at myself when I lose my cool for unwarranted reasons. I criticize my lack of energy to handle my daughter’s anxiety disorder when she wakes up in the middle of the night. I constantly try to look from the outside in at what I’m saying and how I’m acting and if it’s “appropriate” or not based on what my daughter sees.
We know so much today about EVERYTHING, that we cannot easily blame our transgressions on, “Well, I had NO IDEA.” Hmmmmm, if you are connected to the web in any fashion, you have AN IDEA…not about some stuff, but about a whole lotta stuff, because whether you like it or not, it shows up EVERYWHERE.
A few weeks ago I decided to check in with my daughter’s therapist. I made the appointment for myself, alone, however, so that I could go over certain situations with her that had been coming up between us.
A big one I was concerned about is my own emotional stability. I’m a crier. I’m sensitive to sensitive subjects. I emote. A lot. But, I also tell Maycee why I’m crying. I explain to her when things are bothering me and why, in what I consider to be age-appropriate terms. I don’t hide much from her, and some think that’s not such a good thing. That perhaps my “open door” policy is too open.
Life as a single mom has been a journey for the past 7 years, and not living near family with babysitting privileges it’s been difficult to mask the hurdles in front of my kiddo. Rather than mask and “act strong” I’ve chosen to actually BE brave be but be REAL. Honestly, kids know when their parents are going through rough times whether it’s openly discussed or not.
The therapist asked me this: What do you think?
“Well, I think it’s important for her to understand emotions are okay to be expressed. Not to hold things in. Not to feel like she has to suppress herself when she’s upset or sad. Because I don’t think it’s healthy, and I don’t think it sends a realistic message about life. I want her to learn to cope, and I don’t want her to be confused.”
Of course, there’s balance. I can’t just blubber my way in and out of every day. I have to persevere through sadness and anger, hurt, and disappointment. I have to continue putting one foot in front of the other and not dwell on negative experiences. And, I need to share my happy, silly self just as often as I explain when something brings me down.
“Then, OWN IT, ” she said. “Be the parent you want to be and OWN IT.” And, then she agreed with my feelings on the subject.
It’s awesome how sometimes just one small phrase can change your perspective on life so dramatically. It’s been awhile since I’ve had this happen, but this two-word phrase, “own it” has been on my mind ever since. It’s my new mantra.
And, guess what? By owning it, owning my parenting style and believing in myself with a smidge of validation I’m not worrying as much.
Maybe this concept was innately part of yesteryear parenting–before the Internet connected us to every single scenario, reason, opinion and psychological study on the planet. Second-guessing one’s parenting style wasn’t so prevalent.
People will always end up in the therapist’s chair. Some parents will be more in tune than others no matter what decade we analyze. And, I’m certainly glad I err on the side of worrying about if I’m doing things right rather than saying, “Pishaw! My kid’s dandy! No concerns here!”
But, I’m also glad two little words are helping to give me some respite.
Life is short, Readers, so give a chuckle or three, and then…