Today’s post will surely resonate with anyone who has children because, from the time we find out that we are going to be parents, there is a constant barrage of “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” It’s up to you to forge your own path in this world we call motherhood.
Having a child means people come out of the woodwork to give you parenting advice. When I found out I was pregnant with my first, people at work that I hardly knew would come up and start talking about birthing plans, the “right” way to feed my baby, and sleep training.
It’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I’ve learned over the years that some advice IS really great advice, but when I became a Mom, I became more like a sponge. I started to soak in everything people had to tell me about what I should and should not be doing, and I had to pick and choose what actually seemed right in my life and for my family.
This caused me to buck the current parenting standard quite a bit.
My friend Hillary has said, “In our home, my kids don’t have chores. They have responsibilities. They clean up after themselves, but we don’t have “chores.” Read more about my feelings here.
Am I the only one in my group of friends that feels this way? Possibly.
Do most of my friends give their kids age-appropriate chores? Probably.
Is it outside of what people consider to be “the norm?” Perhaps.
That has never given me any pause. Because I know it’s right for our family.”
I know how I feel, and that is enough.
While I’m breaking all the “rules,” I’ll also let you know that I feel very strongly that I want to be my kids’ best friend. Today, tomorrow, when I am parenting teenagers and beyond.
Does this mean that I want to drink with them and go to parties and hear about them hooking up?
No. It’s QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
I want to be their mother and their best friend because I want to instill in them a sense of self-respect and safety that they will carry with them through adulthood. I want them to trust me and come to me when they are still learning the ropes of life. I want them to know that I won’t judge them, but instead, I’ll teach them and guide them.
Do I want them to know that regardless of how mean this ol’ world is to them, they always have their best friend waiting for them at home? Do I want them to know that even if they have a lapse in judgment with boys, alcohol, etc, they can talk to me, and I won’t berate them and judge them? That instead, I will wrap my arms around them and tell them they are loved?
Then yes…Yes, I do.
However… all it takes me is one time flipping through a ‘Parenting Magazine’ or watching a TV show to be told that in no uncertain terms should I be best friends with my child. That I should, in fact, be the opposite.
Oh well. Just call me a Rebel With A Cause…
Whether it’s not letting our kids have free rein with their electronics or not letting them use their phones with certain friends over because of our one technology rule that we won’t break.
As you can see, I think forging your own way as a Mom makes you a better one. Sure, listen to what others have to say because there is no better educator than experience. Find a mom you admire and watch what she does. If you loved the way you were raised (like I did), follow in your mom’s footsteps.
But at the end of the day, you need to make the choices and decisions that are right for you and your family. The ones that will bring you happiness, which in turn will make your children happier.
And don’t be surprised if you grow and learn after each child. Don’t be surprised if you change your parenting as you go. Most of us will. (If you don’t believe me, read my letter, “To my firstborn- I’m sorry.”)
It doesn’t mean you did it “wrong” the first time…it means you are getting it right!