Not Taking Parenthood Too Seriously
Abbie Vander Meulen
It is ironic that I am writing this post today. I just got off the phone with our local counseling center to schedule an assessment for one of my children.
After the call, I found my toddler hiding behind the table inhaling a stick of butter. Meanwhile, my 9-month-old had discovered the thrill of unrolling toilet paper.
All during a ten-minute call.
This season is not for the faint of heart. It’s burdensome, shaping little humans into well-adjusted adults. I can make myself crazy with the thoughts swirling in my mind; questioning every decision, every word, every food choice. I tend to vacillate between micromanagement and throwing my hands in the air because, it seems, no matter how on-the-ball I am, my kids will still wait until we are in the Target checkout line to tantrum.
My friend is a single mom of three. We regularly call each other during hard moments to help get off the ledge. Because it is when we are recounting the situation to the other that we realize how hilarious it is.
Yesterday, I called her after I had continued to respond kindly to my 4-year-old’s tantrum. Despite doing nailing it in the parenting department, he told me he wanted a different family and that he was going to tear down our house with me inside. I was fuming. I was kind! I did it right! I rubbed his back and stayed calm! He’s so ungrateful!
My friend laughed and told me an eerily similar experience she had had the previous night with her seven-year-old. Then I laughed at her story. Because, guys, you’ve seen the moms who can’t laugh at things. They’re constantly on edge. They’re full of unsolicited advice and horror stories from Facebook articles.
So, yes. Please be intentional. Occasionally read a book to your child. Affirm them. But, as the great Cheri Oteri said, let’s all “simma down nah.”
Your kids are NOT defined by their worst moment. My son threatening to tear down the house with me in it does NOT mean he is destined to be a sociopath. My other child eating a stick of butter does NOT doom him for obesity. It likely means I should put the butter up after I use it, and that maybe I could have more conversations about kind words. But, y’all, I’m not defined by my worst parenting moment, and neither are you.
So, let’s soldier on. Laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation and learn from it. Because, as a mom who has experienced a child straddling another child at Chick-Fil-A after attempting to remove their diaper, you can really only apologize and laugh.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com.