Vulnerability and Parenting

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.

8 thoughts on “Vulnerability and Parenting

  1. Colleen says:

    You are doing awesome and you’ve been really helpful to me when I’ve been in the same boat and questioning myself as a parent. My two kids are so different from each other and are so very different to parent! I can see that yours are too. When I was first a parent I thought I was doing it right, since my first was an easy baby and toddler. My second showed me I was wrong about that and I was amazed at how judgemental people got about him. Now he is the easy one, so it is always changing! Hugs to you and you are doing the best you can for your kids. You truly care about them and that is what matters in the long run!

  2. Yes- this- so this. No kid is alike. I have cared for probably thousands. No 2 were ever alike. Not siblings. Not twin siblings. The one consistent thing I heard from parents, other teachers , and supervisors- the positive thing(there were many negatives, too) was the way that I treated each kid as an individual. No small feat when there are 14 of them. A lot of the negative feedback came from kids- how come you didn’t put him in time out when he did what I did. (the answer in my head- Because if I put him in time out every time he did that, he would be living there). One day in a moment of either exasperation or sheer genius I gave the honest answer. I was reading. A child with ADHD and other issues, got up from the chair and went to play in Home living area. She was busy and quiet. Another kid said “Why does she get to get up and play and we don’t. I just said- Okay I can go get her every time she gets up and interrupts the story, or I can read you guys the book. The collective answer was leave her there and read to us. All kids are different, and have to be handled and loved differently. Kim, you are an awesome Mom. All your kids are very different, and you have had to make big adjustments for each. They will all turn out great.

  3. I read this, responded to it, flipped back to email and saw the post by Rick Warren- They match- it is posted to Facebook. If you aren’t on my Facebook, go to Pastor Rick Warren daily word of today. Its simple- Love your kids

  4. heidi says:

    You are a great mom! The only bad way to parent is to not care. I have 4 and they all needed different things and different approaches. And, as soon as we would think we had it down, their needs changed. Parenting is so hard. You are always striving to do better so you are doing great! They are lucky to have you.

  5. Tonya says:

    Yes, Yes, and YES. You are doing the best you can with what you have and that is all we can all ask of ourselves.

  6. Della Goldsworth says:

    Thank you. I needed this today, as my son got kicked out of camp for the 3rd time this summer. As my daughter shuts herself in her room, alternately pissed off/sobbing at me, at her brother, at the dog, at life.

    Thank you.

  7. This is all so true. I hate pretty much every parenting article and meme. Oh, should we go back to the time of no screens? Cool then I guess I get to lock my kids in the backyard all day while I merrily clean my house in heels.

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