Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Parenting Guilt

Hey boo,

How's it going?  I'm feeling annoyed.

Ya know what I'm really sick of?  Reading articles that make me feel guilty for the way I am parenting the kids.  Stuff about yelling at your kids, activities you do/don't do with your kids, what you feed your kids, what chemicals/products you use on/around your kids, if your house is too messy, if your house is too clean, how your kids sleep, the toys your kids have, if you work/don't work, where you send them to daycare, how you should spend more/less time snuggling your kids, blah blah blah, there are just so many more floating around out there.  It's just adding to my insanity.

I try not to read them.  I can see the article headline and I know it is just something I should ignore because it's going to make me feel bad.  But sometimes, I can't resist.  When they keep showing up in my Facebook news feed, I think it must be something miraculous, with amazing advice that I really need.  Lately there has been one about yelling at your kids.  I ignored it for a while.  But then I just couldn't resist, I had to read it, because maybe they had an incredible answer for getting your kids to listen and behave.

But it didn't.

It was just one woman's opinion on how she started parenting her kids.

It's amazing how that one woman's opinion, a woman I don't even know and have never met, can make me feel like absolute butt.

Yes, there is a time and place and certain situations where yelling might NOT be the best thing to do.  But then there are times where it just can't be avoided.  At least, I think so.

Like when I am changing Will's diaper, and I see across the room that one sister pushes/hits/bites/steals a toy from the other sister.  Ya know what?  I'm going to yell across the room at her.  I can't immediately get to her, and I need her to stop.  Typically my loud yelling makes them both turn their heads and they stop what they are doing for a few seconds.  She might start right back up with whatever naughty thing she was doing again, but it bought me a few extra seconds to whip on Will's diaper so I can rush over and break up whatever is going on between the girls...

You know that I am actually a very patient person.  I admit, my patience has GREATLY diminished since you died, but I still consider myself laid back for the most part.

But sometimes I just don't know what else to do besides yell.  I've tried grabbing someone's hand and looking them in the eye and saying sternly, but not yelling: "It's not nice to hit.  It gives that person owie.  You don't like when you get owie, right?  So. Please. Don't. Hit."  But then that someone rips their hand away from me and hits!  It makes me insane.

Are their better ways out there to discipline your kids?  Maybe. Probably.  But they don't always work for every kid and every parent.  We are not all the same.  We do not all have the patience, time, or even energy to allow us to do the "right" thing while parenting.  We can't all produce clone children who will all be brought up in the perfect environment with the perfect parents with the perfect attitudes with the perfect discipline skills.

Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do to get though.

And I'm not dissing on this non-yelling woman at all.  It works for her.  She is "doing what she's gotta do."  I'm glad she found something that makes her feel good about her parenting skills.  I think a lot of us out there struggle to find something that makes us feel confident and think "You know what, I AM doing a good job.  Self high-five."  So, rock on non-yeller lady!

In order to help the crazy anxiety and negative thoughts and the "Now I'm depressed" feeling that happened because I read this article, I tried really hard to think of something that made me feel like I might be doing at least one thing right.

And here it is:  When I pick the kids up from daycare, they ALL get the biggest smiles on their faces.  The girls are SO FREAKIN' EXCITED to see me, they squeal and yell from across the room, and come running to me.  Will will stop what he's doing and come crawling my way.  Then if I pick him up to give him a hug and kiss, and then put him down to grab his bag or his socks, he cries.

I think they all do these things because they like me.  They WANT to be with me.  So that must mean I'm doing something good enough for them to WANT to be with me.

So, self high-five to me.

I really don't know what a better way would be for people to write these articles so they don't bum me (or others) out.  I know they are just sharing their experiences.  I just wish they could all come from the perspective, "This is what I do.  You can try it if you want.  But you don't have to. And you know, if you do something different or the complete opposite, that's cool too."  And maybe they are written that way and I just totally interpreted them wrong because I'm a little sensitive or something...

And maybe this little "parenting" email is making someone else feel bad.  I hope not though.  If you are reading this, and you feel bad, please don't, that wasn't my intention at all.  You rock!! Keep on keepin' on! :-)

Anyways, I don't know, parenting is so hard.  We are responsible for a person, and how this person will grow and fit into this world.  And we all just want the very best for them because we love them SO much.  Maybe social media might make it harder, but I still like it (I actually use it to be "social"), so it's not like I'm going to avoid it in order to avoid the guilt...

What was it like when our parents were first raising us, and there wasn't this constant connection with other opinions and whatnot?  Was their Mommy/Daddy guilt then?  Or what about when our grandparents were raising our parents?  Maybe they should be writing articles for us?  Who knows...

Anyways, I just thought I'd share.  I wish you were here to go through all this madness with me.


P.S.  I first had the "subject" of this email be "Mommy Guilt", but I know that you had times where you struggled with how you were parenting.  So I decided to make it universal to include you too. :-)  I'm sure you'd be right on board with me and these articles floating around.  Love!

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