Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poor Parenting?

Before I had a child, I had tons of preconceived notions about parenting.  I thought that my friends who already had children weren't very good parents.  I had all these plans and of course it was the perfect way to raise a child.  I was going to stick to my guns no matter what happened.  My child wasn't going to watch tv or eat junk food or ever step foot in McDonald's.  But then I was in college and TV worked as a distraction so I could get my work done and that went out the window.  Then grandparents, they aren't much help.  They sneak the kid junk food every time they are alone even after you've insisted over and over that said child isn't allowed to have it and when it feels like the whole world is against you, you just give up.  Then that Mc word.  Everyone knows it tastes delishious and it is even a little addicting.  Just seeing the golden arches can make you hungry.  So, I was pretty determined not to even give my little one a single taste of it.  But then there are those moments in parenthood where you are halfway through a three hour car ride, have five dollars to your name and a two year old in the backseat screaming how hungry he is.  Then that plan took a backseat to life.  See that's the problem...we make all these plans and really life isn't planned it just happens.  In fact life is happening all around us while we read/write this.  I'm quite certain that in this country we work and work to make a nice life but life doesn't stop to wait for us and by the time we get there...well life is almost over.  But back to my parenting plan.  I did have notions that I stuck to.  I promised my child wouldn't drink soda...and he's 4 and still never had soda.  I wanted to co-sleep, breastfeed and selectively vaccinate and all of those I've done.  I swore my son wouldn't be a three year old in pull-ups and I did potty train him by the time he was two.  I also promised myself he wouldn't have a bink(y) (pacifier) after he could walk and bink/y/bipy got packed up after he started walking.  I also didn't want to reinforce negative behavior and for the most part I'm pretty good at ignoring or disciplining the negative behavior instead of giving into it.
Then there are the things you don't really think about.  For example when your four year old is in the fitting room with you while you are trying on a new shirt and shouts out "I see your boobies, Mommy!"  Or when you are in a restroom going to the bathroom and you have an emergency have to poop incident, you wait until the bathroom clears and try to poop both as quickly and as quietly as possible and your little one screams "are you pooping, Mommy?"  You don't plan on them shouting "my penis is up" in the middle of their social activities.  And while we all know mommy kisses are magic and mommies make boo-boos all better with them.  We never count on our 2 year old dropping the toilet seat on his penis and asking mommy to kiss it better.  We don't plan for these things before we have children.  So when your 2 year old is crying in the store while you are trying to find clothes that fit and making a huge scene...and you bend down and quietly say "I love you crack-baby" and your two year old looks back up at you and screams "I love you too crack-mommy"...all you can really do is smile and laugh.
We all have these plans on what we're going to do and what great parents we're going to be.  And while we try to plan for what we can and handle what we can't plan for, life still happens.  It goes on and we have to roll with the punches and try to enjoy ourselves in the meantime.  There isn't any point in being embarrassed.  I'm sure I'm not the only mother to have my boobs or bathroom behaviors called out in public and I surely won't be the last.  In fact this is probably happening to some poor woman as I type this.  And all those things that I thought were poor parenting were really just survival, you have to pick your battles.  Find what's most important to you and stick to your guns and learn to let the other stuff slide.  Good luck Mamas!