Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good enough is okay.

I'm a weird, late night, "really ought to go to bed, but I'm going to read a random blog on the Internet anyways" type of person. I have gotten better in that my normal bedtime has shifted from 11:30pm to around 10:30 pm. Much to Sam's relief.

Anyways...the last few days a thought has been mulling around in my head and I've read a few blogs that have caused me to react a bit internally. So, I'm going to process it out here and see what other people think.

There's this thought out there that "I turned out fine" is not a good argument for parenting. Because, after all (as some parents are pointing out), do we want "fine" children or "exceptionally great" children?

So, if you let your children eat candy and stay up late and watch hours of non-educational t.v. and use the argument, "I did that and I turned out fine", then really you are a lazy parent and how dare you procreate?

(By the way, the above statement is an exaggeration of one point of view).

Here's my thought. Sometimes parents have to go into survival mode.

As a very busy mom of three small children (plus wife to an amazing man who does way more than his fair share of everything--except breast feeding, lol) there are days when it's enough that my children are dressed and not pooping in their pants. The images of having a clean house (with no clutter or dust), healthy meals that don't consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and children who are not whining or fighting, are finally leaving my head.

Do I strive to do things well? Of course! I want my children to eat healthy food, and we do everything we can to make that happen. Junk food in our house looks like tortilla chips and salsa or gold fish crackers with the occasional animal cracker thrown in (yes, there is sugar and corn syrup in it. Sue me). We buy organic when we can, we make them eat their vegetables, etc. But, sometimes it's easier to order pizza on a busy night. Sometimes, it's easier to say, "yes" to the piece of candy rather than say "no" and face the whining.

I want my children to have great imaginations and not sit in front of the t.v. for hours at a time. So, we do have limits to how much t.v. is watched and when. But, there are days when I need to get stuff done and it's easier to say yes to just one more episode of The Amazing Spiderman! (hooray for 1960's t.v. on Netflix!) so I can mop the floor or finish preparing a lesson rather than deal with the outcome of fighting children while attempting to get stuff done.

And you know what? So far, my kids have turned out fine. In fact, I might dare to say that my kids have turned out more than fine. I know I'm their mom and I am biased, but I think that a lot of people would agree that my kids are pretty pleasant to be around.

I think that parents need to get off of the judging train and be more encouraging. I think that it's perfectly "fine" that we don't know where our kids are going to attend high school. (I wish I were exaggerating when I say that someone was slightly horrified that I haven't planned that far ahead.)

To make a long post longer, there are a few things that I cringe when people say, "I turned out fine" with.

Car seats: Yes, the car seat laws are intense and perhaps when we were little we were just "fine" rolling around in the back of the cars or *gasp* riding in the open back of a pick up truck. But, how many people were killed or horribly injured when a car accident happened that might have been "fine" had they been properly secured? So, yes, I will err on the side of caution with car seats and keeping my kids in them as long as necessary.

Bike helmets: Yes, I grew up not wearing one and I was fine, but I also never fell off of a bike and hit my head. Sorry, my kids will wear helmets when they are on their bikes (and skateboards later on). And, if they don't want to wear one, they won't ride.

But, other than that (and a few other hopefully obvious things), we all do the best we can and honestly, if my kids turn out "fine" I'm okay with that!

What do you think? Could parents be more supportive of other parents in your opinion?


Jana said...

Yes, I think other parents should be more supportive. Being a parent is hard enough without all the criticism. I am guessing you are a GREAT mom, Carrie. And none of the things you mention sound horrible to me. (And I completely agree about car seats and bike helmets!)

Unknown said...

One thing that people have to realize is how the world has changed since "when I was growing up... I turned out fine". Cars now go faster, drivers are worse, and more people live closer to high-traffic areas- thus the need for helmets and car seats.
I think that parents need to know how to detach from their kids and give them some autonomy (age-appropriate, of course). Yes, they deserve a lot of credit for morals and responsibility and such, but don't take credit for their accomplishments. I came to dislike the beaming look on my mother's face when talking about my own successes- as if she was the one helping me with homework every night and forcing me to practice.