Team Pantry...Pass the Oreos
I’ve been blogging for a few months now, and there is one topic that keeps surfacing that I think should blog about. Every time I start, though, I stop.
Why? Because I don’t have all the answers and, heaven help me, the minute I write a bit of parenting advice, one of my children will be caught punching the other, or double dipping, or riding a bike sans helmet.
Or perhaps it’s because, while I may seem to have it somewhat together, there are days I come home and see someone has made $2 brownies from the box and think to myself, “Oh Praise God, someone made dinner!”
Or maybe it’s because I have forgotten things like kindergarten physicals and immunizations, the words “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you may die” may have left my mouth, and I sometimes find myself in the pantry with the door shut eating Oreos, thinking, “When will they figure out I have ZERO idea what I am doing?”
Here’s what I DO know.
I am mother to four amazing, unique, vastly different, and loving children.
Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing.
Other times I feel like a fabulous mixture of Mary Poppins and Sister Maria.
Sometimes I say the wrong thing. Sometimes I snap and take out my work stress on my kids.
Other times I deliver inspirational pep talks and soothe their anxieties and make them laugh until they have tears running down their faces.
Always, I love them.
I think we need to give grace to one another when it comes to parenting. I have friends who run a tight ship, and friends who can’t typically locate two matching socks for any of their children. I have friends who believe in the family bed and others who Ferberized every child. I have friends who scream on the sidelines of their children’s games and others who don’t believe in team sports.
But they all are doing the best they can.
I don’t have their children, so I would never begin to judge their parenting. I have never understood the need to judge each other. Anyone who thinks parenting is easy… well, go ahead and judge.
Have you gone to look for Oreos yet? Exactly.
As parents we often judge each other by the actions of our children. When our kids do something amazing, we love to take the credit. When they do something wrong (and they all do) we tend to look down on each other and think, “Well, at least my child would never do that.”
I have four children. And I have a good friend who also has four, several years older than mine. I remember visiting her house when her kids were small and there was coloring and scribble on several walls in the kitchen and hallways. I would think, “My kids would never do this.” And they didn’t.
Until one day I came home from a long day in the operating rooms. My youngest son, who was about two at the time, was jumping up and down, begging for me to follow him. He wanted to show me something in the living room he was clearly proud of. I walked around the corner as the other children were giving me a run down of the day, and suddenly my mouth dropped open. My son, somehow unbeknownst to his nanny and the rest of us, had decided to draw all over the living room wall as high as his little arms would reach. Suddenly I saw juvie and repeating the 6th grade and playing hookie in his future.
So far, he’s ok.
I think of this story often when I internally start to judge someone else’s parenting based on their child’s actions. I seriously thought I was a pretty good parent because I had made it through three other toddler-hoods without any major home destruction. Now that I have teens and preteens, crayons on the wall are the least of my worries.
*Takes a sip of wine*
Let’s give grace to ourselves and to one another when it comes to parenting. Let’s encourage each other and our little people. Let’s stop judging and start encouraging. Whenever I feel really bad about something I’ve done as a parent, my mom reminds me, “Well Sasha, God is the perfect parent, and look at us.” In other words, even perfect parents (if there is such a thing) have kids who make mistakes.
We can all be better parents. We can unplug from our phones and engage more. We can be more patient. We can give them more grace and less pressure to perform. We can give them space to try and room to fail. We can encourage and speak truth.
Here’s to crayons on walls and eating Oreos in the pantry.