Monday, August 8, 2011

Perception vs Reality

I know how I want to parent. I know the parent I want to be and the one I want to avoid being at all costs. I also know what a huge chasm separates my perception of the parent I judge myself as being and the parent that I really am. See, all I remember is that I am the bad guy. The one that says "NO!!!". The one that yells only 10 minutes after I vow to myself to stop the yelling. I see grand visions of homeschooling during the summer and then I find myself starting when the summer is halfway through! I tend to focus on my screw ups and failures. I don't want to, I just do.

I realize that kids will be kids and there is never a "perfect" way to parent. Does that stop the inner voice from pointing out what I am doing wrong? Nope. So I do listen to that voice because I think it makes me a better parent. I try to balance the negative inner voice with listening to what my kids are saying. To what other people say when they are around my kids.

I think we (parents in general) are our own worst enemies sometimes. We COMPARE our kids with others and it kind of skews our perception of our own kids. So I try to use it in a positive manner. I try to use the comparison compulsion to improve my parenting and to see the things I want to encourage in my kids. If I see a kid in a store (for example) and they are making their mother crazy with running around or not listening...... I try not to think "I'm glad my kids don't act that way" because sometimes they do. I try to think "If my kids act like that, I think I would try to get them to be my little helpers by putting things in my cart or taking turns pushing the cart." When a neighbor's kid gets wild and starts playing rough, I try to tell myself that my youngest sometimes acts like that and I should point out to him his own reaction when the neighbor's kid gets too rough with him and how others must feel when he gets too rough.

I guess I should be glad that I am so hard on myself because that means I am never taking parenting for granted and I am always thinking about my kids and ways that I can improve my relationship with them and their relationship with people around them. I hope that they have memories as adults of the fun things I choose to do with them and not the yelling mom I tend to see myself as, but as I evolve as a mom, I can always make new memories with them.

1 comment:

Mari said...

I sense the same feelings about parenthood! There are days I know I'm doing well: keeping track of schedules, homework, deadlines, the housework, errands, and the cooking. And then there is the forgotten music lesson that was rescheduled, the frozen dinners, the "went to the groceries late" because there isn't anymore milk and bread. I'm hard on myself when the flow of things aren't in perfect order due to what i call my laziness. If i were at a job, would i get fired because i haven't "cooked" in 3 days or because there are no more clean underwear?

And then i think about the things I wanted to do, but didn't. like you, I wanted to give some homeschooling during the summer. Didn't happen. We played board games, but not as much as i envisioned. We went to the pool and had some playdates, but bummed out at home in pjs so much more.

We see our faults, but there is so much more that we are doing that we do not see. The boys are happy. The boys are learning their morals and values. The boys see that when it's summer, when there is no work, it's okay to bum out; and when it's time to work, they have to raise the bar. The boys know their manners. And they love their mom and dad. They love each other. As stay-at-home moms, we are the foundation for our family. And it's holding up very well.

Its comforting to know that other stay-at-home moms feel as I do. Thank you.