I overheard a young mom say about her first child, “if we can react to everything out of love, to treat him with love, to not punish, but treat him with love, then I will be happy with that kind of parenting.”
Hurl. Insert my specialty of eye-rolling while my entire body goes limp.
I know. I am such a jerk, right? It’s just that this young thing is young, plus only has one child, who is also young. And being a bit farther down the path of parenting, I simply cannot bear to be in the same room as idealists dealing with what I now consider an easier phase. I have graduated from that stage where my main goal was to keep the children alive. (Hooray! A co-worker asked what my goal was with the kids, asking about them raising them bilingual, etc. I said, Um, keep them alive till age one then reassess goals. The co-worker thought that was morbid.)
I find parenting to be such a humbling experience. I don’t mean in a “children are old souls” kind of humbling. I mean, like my children bring me down to my knees humbling. It’s something I seem to get the hang of some days, and others, it’s like being a complete beginner as I struggle to control the kids from wrecking the living room, throwing my somewhat-not-really orderly room into chaos, make dinner while settling fights, hug each one and try to focus on them, while they all talk over each other. It’s an impossible task. My mother’s goal with me was to make me a lawyer (fail) and my goal is to not yell. How low of a goal is that???
My other goal is to provide them with many good memories as possible so that they have a trove to retreat to when they hit bad times — it’s not a bad concept, but definitely leads to guiding behavior more appropriate to a sitter or grandma, eg, many balloons and candy are part of the picture. Oh well, at least they have a strict father who is amazing. Every time I come home, Husband has them practicing spelling to classical music or Bob Marley.