Trust your parenting decisions

As we get closer to summertime, I am seeing more posts on social media and blog posts about what to do with the kids over the summer.  Some parents put them in day camp, some parents leave them home, some parents have friends watch them, some parents have no idea what to do…..

And, unfortunately, when I hear parents talk about what they are doing with their kids, be it allowing them to watch certain tv shows, read certain books,  watch certain movies, I also see something else happening:  Judgement from other parents…..  and then I see the parents who are being judged do one of two things…..either they just keep talking, like they didn’t notice the judgement, or they apologize, and start explaining why they made that decision as a parent.

As if they somehow feel the need to apologize for making a decision they feel is best for their own kids.  Concerned about being judged by other parents as “too conservative” or “holding them back””, or “hiding your head in the sand”.  Then there is the other side of the coin.  They might be judged for being “too permissive”, or “too liberal”.  so the parents feel they have to explain why they DID allow their children to read a book, see a movie, go to an event, start dating, wear makeup, etc etc etc…the list is endless……

They worry about judgement for seeming too “permissive” or not caring about the scars their kids might get from the message of the books or the violence. Or the worry about seeming too conservative” and sheltering their child(ren) from the “harsh reality” of life.

I have a difficult time with both of these points of view.  Not because I think there is a correct age or time for a child to see a particular kind of movie or read a particular book, or date, or wear makeup, etc etc etc. The problem I have with those two trains of thought is WHY the parents even feel the need to explain their decisions to every one else.

I feel bad for the parents who feel they need to justify and explain their actions to others. Maybe they are new parents, maybe they are first time parents, maybe they are just insecure….there could be a million reasons why they are unsure of their parenting decisions.  Parenting is HARD!!!!   There is no manual, and most of the time we are just flying by the seat of our pants, having NO CLUE what we are doing.

I will say that I have made MANY MANY bad parenting decisions, and I have also made MANY MANY great decisions.  I have learned from the bad ones AND the good ones.    Parenting is full of mistakes and learning curves.  There is no manual that a person gets to help them when they become a parent, and even if you did get a manual with your first child, you would need to toss it in the trash when the second child comes, and the third, fourth, etc etc….  Each child is unique and what works for one child won’t work for another child.

For example, our oldest, (my stepdaughter, Katarina) doesn’t even acknowledge me as a parent, and refuses to even speak to me, so while that is an incredibly difficult situation it doesn’t take me off the proverbial “parenting hook”.  Her  mom is my partner, and we make decisions together….but my stepdaughter  doesn’t accept my decisions….it is complicated….   The three boys are completely different though.  Karol and I parent them together, and they understand that  we decide together and lets be real here…..Karol and I don’t always agree on what we are going to do…our parenting styles are very different…

And that is something else.  Parents are different from each other, and if you have more than one parent involved with raising a child, the parents sometimes need to talk about what to do, how to do it, etc, and parents don’t always agree with each other, so that requires discussion and compromise.  Parenting is the TOUGHEST job I have ever done.

 https://www.facebook.com/rusticpinedesigns

I used to feel as if I had to explain my actions and motives regarding my decisions about my kids, but not anymore!.  They are pretty awesome people, and I know that the only person that knows them better than themselves….. is me.  I know what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what they want from life.  I know their hearts and most of the time I know their minds.

My point is that I want parents who are caring, trying their best, and just doing what they think is the right thing for their kids, (bio kids, adopted kids, step kids,god kids,  ANY kids), ….to own their decisions, and know within ourselves, that we do not need to justify or explain our decisions regarding our children to anyone besides our partners, ourselves and (sometimes) our kids.

So if you want your kids to see a movie or read a book, date, wear makeup, stay home from school, (or not), it is your decision to make.  If you think they should or should not attend a party or a school dance, or a movie or a football game, that is a parents choice as well. So decide, and own that decision knowing that you are always trying to do the best for your children. Trust your parenting decisions!

Found on momfabulous.com
Found on momfabulous.com

No more Mother’s Day celebrations for me

A few weeks ago one of my classmates was giving a presentation about Valentine’s day and how it actually started, and offered a unique perspective on Valentine’s Day.  She suggested we should all start ignoring it.  She felt as though Valentine’s day is gendered in such a way that it is really about women, and men getting stuff for women, etc.  In fact, she stated that when she went to the store during Valentine’s Day season (which starts in the stores on January 2nd), she had a difficult time finding anything to buy her boyfriend, and that there aren’t many options for women to buy their guys, or even guys to buy for their guys.  There just isn’t very much available to purchase for men. I told her Karol and I had stopped doing Valentine’s Day years ago because I felt it was so commercialized.

During the discussion, one of my classmates who is just a few years younger than me told us that she had stopped “doing” Mother’s Day years ago.  She felt that she didn’t want her children to feel “obligated” to appreciate her one day per year, and would prefer that they appreciate her whenever the mood struck them.  That intrigued me.

So I came home and announced to my boys that I would no longer be celebrating Mother’s Day and they should feel no obligation to buy me stuff, or cook me food, or be especially nice to me on this one day a year, but instead, should appreciate me at any time.  If they see something that makes them think of me they can just get it for me, or if they just want to give me a hug, do so, or if they just want to make me feel appreciated, any day is a great day for that, not just one day a year.

Bio kid 1
Bio kid 1- Zachary
bio kid #2- Jacob
bio kid #2- Jacob
Stepkid-Brandon
Stepkid-Brandon

They seemed to dig it, and interestingly the next week, my oldest son, (who works at Starbucks) called me to ask me what I would like for him to bring me home since he was leaving work and heading home.  That was nice, and made my heart sing.

Of course, my first thought was, “Hmmm, he wants something….”  But you know what?  He didn’t want anything.  He just wanted to be nice to his mama.

But Mother’s Day is not a happy day for everyone. What about the mother’s who lost their children?  For those mothers, the day can be filled with sadness, and a sense of loss.  Or women who are unable to have children? I have quite a few friends who have lost children and my heart goes out to them every day, but especially on Mother’s Day.  For those who have lost children, but also have some with them still, it must be truly a bittersweet day indeed.

So in the future, we will not be celebrating Mother’s Day for me.  I am fortunate that I have raised three children who are considerate human beings, and think of their mother (and stepmama) all year, and let me know that I am loved.

For all of the rest of you mothers, you have to do what works best and feels right for you, but it definitely is something to consider…..asking your loved ones to honor and be appreciative all year instead of just one day….

birthmom

The wisdom of my kids?????

I live in a household with three male adolescents.  Three teenaged boys.

I can’t speak to anyone else’s experience with adolescent male children, all I can tell you is that my male adolescent children like to:

Talk. About.  Their.  Junk.

And by junk I mean they like to talk about their penis’, testicles, scrotums, etc.  They joke about the size of their junk, the usage of their junk, and the importance of their junk.  This is an almost daily occurrence.  Sigh…….

I suppose in one way of looking at it, that is a good thing.  It means Karol and I have a household where the boys feel free to express themselves and are comfortable talking about sexuality and condoms, and their bodies.  It means we have open communication and we are raising boys who are able to talk to us about anything.

On the other hand, it can lead to conversations like this:

Me: (at the dinner table speaking to the oldest boy)  “Dude, whenever you stand up your pants are sagging.  Pull your pants up”
Oldest Boy: “I pulled them up before I sat down.  You know, what goes up must come down.”
Middle Boy: (from the other room):  “Just like a boner.”

Youngest Boy starts laughing hysterically.

Annnddd there you have it folks.
Welcome to my world.

molerat