There is nothing that has helped me more when traveling the road of parenting challenges than when other parents bond with me over their fears and concerns and failures. Lately I’ve found myself seeking out those type of conversations as I live in constant self-doubt that I am doing it ALL SO VERY WRONG.
And it hit me this morning why I’m reaching out more lately: STUPID PARENTING MEMES AND ARTICLES ON FACEBOOK.
As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning I saw no less than 7 different posts on parenting. Memes lamenting days of yore pre-screens, religious articles about how our children need more God, pictures of comedians calling out bad behavior, and TED talks about what you should be doing that I’m most definitely not and OH MY GOD IT IS TOO LATE AND MY KIDS ARE ALL SCREWED.
I used to want a filter for Pro-Trump posts on Facebook.
Now I want a filter for anything dishing out any parenting commentary or advice.
Unless the message is on one of these themes:
Every child is different and what works for one won’t work for the other.
Your child’s behavior is not a perfect reflection of your quality as a parent.
You are doing the best you can, be kind to yourself.
All adults wish their parents had done at least one thing differently, don’t hate yourself at the thought of your kid someday to do the same.
Don’t listen to anyone who says they have the answers. No one really knows for sure how our parenting decisions are going to affect our kids in the later years. As someone who separated child #1 and child #2 by 11 years, I can tell you: You will “discover” something you should have done differently based on some new study or analysis and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. So just do your best. Don’t let someone tell you they have the answers because they don’t know your kid. Don’t let someone shame you for doing things the way that are best for your child and your family. I NEED MY KIDS TO STARE AT SCREENS SOMETIMES, OKAY? It guarantees me some quiet and calm and I need that or else my anxiety will drive me to be a worse parent than my precious children deserve.
Let’s be honest and not pretend we have all the answers. Let’s share out articles that are helpful and not trying to make blanket statements about how this ONE THING is what’s wrong with how we parent. There are a dozen “right” ways to parent each kid and they’re going to be “wrong” for the next kid and the truth is we have NO WAY of honestly knowing for sure what’s going to work in the end because there are 100 million factors we don’t control as our children get older.
I think you’re doing great. I think I’m doing great. Our kids are probably all going to complain about us in therapy but then they’ll have their own kids and they’ll realize how awesome we were all along.