A couple nights back I was talking to a mom at my son’s 4th grade basketball practice. In the course of our conversation she asked how old my other boys were. When I told her that I have a middle schooler, her response was, “Oh! Well then, you have this little kid stuff all figured out!” “Why yes,” I replied. “I am well versed in all things little kid and know all the answers.”
Haha! Just kidding. I most definitely didn’t say that! No, no, no. I laughed and thought instantly of how my preschooler had just thrown me for a total loop that morning with his stubborn determination to not go to gymnastics because it’s boring, thank you very much. And, naturally, with my wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in little boy, in addition to just finishing How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will talk by Adele Faber, I handled every little bit of it wrong. Coincidentally, the book even went through a scenario earily similar to the very one I was seeing play out in front of me. and what did I do? The very thing that she covered in the “Don’t Ever Do This” section.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in parenting, it’s that every time I smugly think to myself, “I have this parenting thing all figured out!” my children make it their sole purpose in life to prove me wrong.
This morning I’ve been thinking of other things we adults like to say that would probably just be better left unsaid. You never know when you could have to eat those words later. Here are a few:
My child will NEVER… Unless this sentament is followed by “…never have the anatomy of a caterpillar” its probably best to just completely remove this thought from your mind. As an independently thinking human being, you have NO idea, pre-toddler, if said future toddler will sprawl out in the grocery store and throw a tantrum over ice cream sprinkles. You just don’t. And until you’ve been there, it’s safe to say you might handle it entirely differently than you think you will. Rule of thumb, unless you’re raising a robot…just don’t go there.
What that kid needs is a good… talking to? Spanking? Take your pick, as long as it is in reference to what a parent is, in your opinion, doing wrong. Instead, it could be more helpful to try, what that parent needs is… a friend, some encouragement, the benefit ofthe doubt, an extra hand, a couple hours to take a shower and feel human again, a smile, a text, a meal, a playmate for her kid, to cut you in line at the grocery store, a hug, monetary help, a listening ear…
I’m going to enjoy every minute of being a mom! Being a mom is incredible. So is marriage, playing an instrument, running a race, or playing a sport (though not all on the same level of incredible, of course). I think we can all agree that these things have challenges, hurtles, and frustrations. That doesn’t make them any less important or you less skilled at it. And doesn’t overcoming all of the challenges and experiencing such a breadth of emotions make it all the more worth it? I wonder if parenting were completely and utterly wonderful every second, if we would find it so deeply rewarding and amazing as it is.
My kid is such a good sleeper. Jinx! I’m 93% sure my kids always take this sentence as permission to wake me up 5 times the next night. “Good sleeper, eh?” They smugly say to themselves. “I’ll show her!”
Another baby? You do know how that happens, don’t you? “Well, no! Please do enlighten us!” Said no one ever.
When you have kids you’ll understand. I was talking to a friend a while back who hasn’t been able to have children after several years of trying. She confided in me about how much it hurt when someone has made this comment. She would love to understand, but for whatever reason, the opportunity had not come yet. I hope we will all make an effort to not be one who causes pain for others because of our words.
Sometimes I think how much easier it would be if I could just program my kids like a robot to do and act exactly how I want. Or, if I could just read a parenting book and have it filed away into my brain so I knew precisely what to say in each and every scenatio. Maybe part of a healthy parenting diet is eating some of our words every day. I have certainly ate my fill! This parenting gig is complicated, and getting it all figured out can feel like trying to reach the top of an escalator that’s taking you down. But, if you ask my kids, that is wildly more exciting, fun, and satisfying than just letting the escalator take you in the direction it’s going! And maybe that’s how parenting is too.