Remember when you had no children and were the perfect parent? All the things you said you would never do (or that your children would never do?) When you rolled your perfectly made up eyes at the screaming child in line in front of you at the grocery store and the frumpy, harried mom with him or her? I used to be that person-well, I've never been one to be "perfectly made up" but you get the idea.
Here are things I said I (or my child) would never do.
1. Wear boots with shorts. But come on, it's cute!
2. Yell at my child. Need I say more?
3. Co-sleep. Does it really matter? If we're all sleeping?
4. Drive a mini-van. My last two vehicles have been mini-vans and I can't imagine driving anything else.
5. Go out of the house with a child (especially a girl child) with "ratty" hair. Have you seen Haley's hair?
6. Make a big deal about Halloween. I don't necessarily think it's an evil holiday, just not my thing. So, this year I'm having a party (That I can't afford) and making costumes for my kids. **eyes roll**
7. Breast-feed past 1 year. Hmmm, Haley is what? 21 months old now?
8. Give them candy. But how can I eat candy if I don't share? That would be wrong, right?
9. Drag my kids along with me on shopping trips. Ummm, if I want to shop what am I going to do with them? And unfortunately, I love to shop. I did tell Harold though that a 3rd child would save him $$ because I would not be able to shop as much (that, my friends, was not a lie!)
I've learned that in parenting there are very few "black and white" issues. There are so many shades of gray Crayola could make a whole box of 96 just of those grays. It's very frustrating. Some things (that children do) are not right or wrong, they might just be annoying. Or they might be funny (but wrong). Parenting is so much guess work, especially with the first child-the guinea pig. (I've already written her a letter of apology that she can read when she's older). The middle child we think we've gotten it right til we realize that he is suffering from loneliness (he has to have his own room while the girls get to share-what??? I thought kids wanted their own room!) and feels ignored.
And the third child...forget about it. By now we've given up on every parenting ideal we had in the beginning. She eats off the floor (we do draw the line at the pile of dirt we are sweeping up) and plays with bugs. She runs around outside with a droopy diaper and all of her clothes are stained. She climbs things, she falls in fires (ok, "only" once but still...) She's a mess. We're doing the best we can. But we've learned not to make judgments of other people's children or their parenting capabilities. Because there but for the Grace of God go I. I'm so grateful God is watching out for my poor children while I fumble along doing a mediocre job at best!