My friendly neighbor and I decided to make a kid’s day out today; a picnic on the school grounds, special treats and fun running around.
It was a great idea in theory, the only problem is that in reality, by the time we got over there, I was in no mood. After I returned home late last night from a trip to the mall, I stayed up even later (well past my bed time) Skyping with my mother about her upcoming visit. To add to the bad day in the making, Lucy was still awake at midnight, and she was up by 8:00 this morning… she also refused to take a nap this afternoon. The Baby was rudely awoken from her nap when it was time to leave, and all of these things led to a group of cranksters, which leads me to my point. Yes, there is a point to all this.
I recently read another blogger’s post on the grayness of motherhood. The main idea of that post mostly centered around the decisions we make with our babies (i.e.- feeding, sleeping, diapering), but she also wrote about how we, as mothers who are human, can tend to get a little defensive when we are discussing out parenting philosophies and choices.
I have been thinking about that blog post over the last few days, specifically related to the topics she discussed, but today something came up that made me think about it in broader terms. Because Lucy was so tired today, she was excessively fresh and lippy, talking back and screaming. I was exhausted myself from being up too late, so part of the problem was that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with that specific problem when it arose. In a sense, I was choosing my battles with her today, but more front and center is my belief that children are allowed to be angry or frustrated, sad, upset, or just plain tired the same way adults are. I think that when you are aware that a behavior is stemming at least partially from a physiological issue (lack of sleep), you are not a bad parent if you let it slide for the moment.
I think that there are some rules that should never be broken, tired children and adults or not, but that sometimes, as a parent, you have to look at the big picture and make a decision as to whether sticking strong to your ‘normal consequences’ for any given behavior will just make the problem worse. Today I found myself defending my ‘lax discipline’, as it may have been described, because someone else thought there was a better way for me to do it. Parenting is not like doing a puzzle, there is not only one way to make a piece fit into the picture. Sometimes it can feel like a day is nothing but battles; on those days especially, you have to sit back and think about whether or not there is a different way to solve this problem, or if you should even bother to classify the given situation as a problem. Some days the answer is yes and some days the answer is no.
We all have different ideas on what good parenting is, we all do things differently. That doesn’t mean that any one specific way is the only right way to do things. If you find yourself challenging someone’s parenting style, just take a minute to remember that certainly there must be some things that you could be doing differently as well…