Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More on My Parenting Perspective

I read a lot of mommy blogs. I read some daddy blogs too. I read philosophy and psychology and even some religious blogs. I'm pretty eclectic in my reading both in the cyber world and the traditional book format. I have friends at both ends and the middle on the spectrum from lifestyle to religion to politics. Because of this, I think I am probably more compassionate about other perspectives than some.

I say this, because it seems like every time I turn around I am constantly reading about why I am not good enough as a parent how I could be a better parent if only I would emulate this certain style. If I would just be more rigid at mealtimes like the French, or push more like the tiger mom, or home school, or private school, or no school or don't spank or do spank or....... and it goes on and on.

So since everyone else spouts their beliefs and some with no parenting experience at all, here is my parenting perspective. Side note: I am calling this my parenting perspective for a reason... in perspective drawing, what is closest is biggest, most detailed, most vibrant.. so with my parenting perspective I am choosing to focus on the things that mean most to me.

My street cred... my kids are 13,8 and 3 and I've taught in public education for 16 years.

Parenting is about Personality! Not the personality of the child, but the parent. If you are a person that loves routine, needs the rigidity of daily scheduled meals that always happen at the exact time, great. But don't expect others to understand or follow suit. This doesn't make you a better parent or a worse parent. It makes you a parent that likes routine. How is this good for your child? Your child learns to follow a schedule. How could this be bad for your child? If you are inflexible about meal time, your child might learn to be inflexible.  My take? I like routines. I am a teacher, I live by the bell schedule. At home, most of the time we eat dinner between 6 and 6:30pm, bedtime is around 8:30. Our routines are like elastic, they have structure, but they also give.. to a point.

Parenting is about Priorities and Priorities are Personal! Every family has different priorities and those priorities are made up of a number of different elements. A family like mine with two working parents and three kids have very different mitigating factors than families with fewer/more kids or a non working parent. I have to say, there are days when I'd really like to tell people to walk a mile in my shoes..they aren't fashionable, they are probably dirty and well worn, but I happen to really like my life and the way I'm living it! Yep, that sounds a little cantankerous.. but like all families, the outside world only sees the small tip at the top of the iceberg of the responsibilities and daily stuff that my family faces each day. However, when I get on my high horse about how good of a parent I am compared to such and such parent, I have to remind myself that I don't know the personal part of their priorities.

Parenting is about Perseverance! Parenting is hard. It is really hard. Some days are easier, but on the whole, parenting is tough. What I like about the idea of perseverance is that we try and try again. If you persevere at something, it implies that you didn't succeed the first time. Parenting is just that. Hey, you might have gotten "lucky" with your child and had a good sleeper or eater or whatever the current definition of a good parent or easy baby is, but the likelihood is that you persevered through something! I can tell you from experience that I had a great baby... but she wasn't a good sleeper and she wanted to nurse all the time! It didn't matter what Dr. Sears, Dr. Spock or Dr. whoever said, my little one was not going to be on a routine, she was not going to sleep laying flat in her crib and she was not going to take a bottle if she could smell me! But we persevered. And guess what, years later we learned that all of her foibles and "spoiled" baby issues had basis in her health problems.

Parenting is about being Practical. Being a practical parent means that you don't make everything a fight. You choose a couple of non-negotiables and allow flexibility to reign in your home. That might mean that you don't "win" every fight. Cause really, if the child gets her teeth brushed but had to be carried to the bathroom upside down on your back, is that a loss? I'd consider that a win on both counts. The child had her teeth brushed and you just created a magic moment for your child. Sure, you could have demanded, forced, fought and spanked and got those teeth brushed and "won," but in my book, it's a loss. You lost the moment with your child to connect, to show compassion and to teach flexibility. So instead of living within the strict confines of what some guru says we should do and are constantly having to fight, we live in practical peace. (not much peace, lots of words... lots and lots of words....but much less punishment.)

And that's my parenting perspective.

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