Hey Guys! I would love to introduce you to a wonderful lady and one of my bestest blogger friends Mary Ann from A Cloth Life! She graciously accepted my request to write a guest post as part of my blogger maternity leave. This post is so “real” to me! I kept reading it and thinking, that’s me exactly, and that is SO Noah! I hope you enjoy her views on “Parenting Perfectly” as much as I did. 🙂
So before we have kids, we are all experts in parenting. We know exactly what each child needs and what we would do differently if he or she was ours. Magically, once we become new parents, we have no clue what we’re doing or what we should be doing, and we lack the sleep necessary to clearly determine what our children need besides food, sleep, and clean diapers.
For as long as we are willing to listen, we will always be the recipients of unsolicited advice. So don’t be surprised with what I have to say, because I am just as much of an expert as the next person you didn’t ask. Which is to say, I’m not. Trust me. Or don’t.
Every child is different, but what they all need is structure and discipline, creativity and freedom. The opportunity to express him or herself is paramount. Temper tantrums are to be expected. Finicky eating, almost required. Time-outs can be a battle in and of themselves. Fairy tales your friends tell you about babies sleeping through the night and toddlers eating all their meals and sitting quietly through church should be taken with a grain of salt. Expect your every word to be thrown back into your face by your angelic-faced child, and for it to sting 100 times worse than you could have imagined when you said it yourself. Prepare to be surprised by your children every single day.
When I was first dreaming up this blog post, I imagined how I would write all about what a parent “should” be doing to parent perfectly. Then, I would let my 4 year old, G, make dessert and photograph the HUGE mess that would result. He loves helping me in the kitchen. I told him step by step what he needed to do. I let him measure and add and stir by himself. I took pictures of every step. It wasn’t long before I realized that things were not going as I had planned. Even though things were taking a little longer than if I’d made them myself, there was no mess. No powdered sugar all over the counter. No graham cracker crumbs on the floor. Things ended even worse with perfectly delicious, absolutely adorable little desserts.
When it’s all said and done, I guess I taught myself the lesson I was trying get across anyway. When it comes to kids, there is no perfect parenting. No perfectly diagrammed, mapped out course from A to B to C. Our kids will grow up as they will or w
on’t. G still insists EVERY NIGHT that I need to sleep in his bed with him or in my bed with him, but certainly not each in our own beds. He’ll grow out of it eventually, I’m sure. I’m also sure my heart will break when he decides he doesn’t need me to feel safe and comfortable enough to sleep through the night anymore (although, I’ll be a very well-rested heartbroken mom). As for N, my 14 month old, I don’t even want to imagine what sorts of fights and fun we’ll go through in her teenage years. I feel a little queasy thinking about the relationship I had with my own mom when I was a teenager. It was not pretty. Not at all. But we’ll get through it. Hopefully, we’ll get through it in a slightly healthier way than my mom and I, but we’ll get there when we get there.
In reality, this is my advice for parents at all stages. You will master exactly how your child needs to be parented. Do not lose hope! A woman, many years ago, once told me that at some point in every mother’s life, no matter their age, they will be brought to their knees in tears by their child. Once I became a mom, this actually brought me comfort. You are not alone. You will get this figured out. Of course, that’s about the time your kid will move on to their next phase and you’ll get to start work on this parenting thing all over again. Stay positive.
Here’s a little more information about Mary Ann. 🙂 She is a stay-at-home-mom who blogs about life with two gorgeous kids, a messy home, and cloth diapers at A Cloth Life. While fulfilling her motherly duties, she reminisces about a time when she used to travel the country regularly and looks forward to a time she’ll be able to do that again. For now, she’s happily settling for traveling via her son’s imagination to places like Dragonland and wherever it is the Power Rangers fight their enemies. If you’re interested in following her adventures, you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.