It could be said that I take parenting seriously. Not so seriously that I forget about myself – that would mean I was selfless. Nope, still pretty selfish. I’m human. Nonetheless. It’s a big deal this parenting thing. You are meant to love and protect them. But it can be so serious that you can over do it. I hear there’s even a name for it – over-parenting. I have no idea what this means. I certainly do not practice this kind of parenting. I mean, I totally don’t hover or say be careful ten time in ten seconds while she plays on the playground. I definitely am not freaking out because I need her to be reading. Shouldn’t she be reading by now? I definitely don’t over-analyze the moments in the car when she is silent. Nope. And I definitely have never, nor will I ever high five my child for eating food. That is sooooo not me. Nope, totally laid back. Not over-parenting at all.
Seriously though. I am constantly re-evaluating my parenting. How much is too much? Not enough? This guy once told me, “you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” But how do you know, Kenny? I mean, what if I’m not playing with a full deck? Or what if I don’t get to see the cards, how will I know what to do? Tell me, Kenny, what do I do? It’s just not that easy and there are a million ways to do this parenting thing.
Of course my favorite parenting moments are those that go a little like this:
At a sizable retail establishment where I often get lost, my child wanders off. This isn’t one of those moments where I took my eyes off her. Because I take parenting so seriously, this of course has never happened. Why would I ever admit it had? Back to this particular moment – she just sets her sights on something and away she goes. Not only is she focused but she apparently experiences sudden hearing loss. It’s bizarre, really.
While I thoroughly encourage independence, I also don’t want my child to get snatched. I do what any normal parent would do, I try to have a rational conversation with a 4-year-old. It works. No really, it TOTALLY works – for a few moments. Inevitably it happens again, this time at the exit.
If we were to play the Would You Rather Game, which would you choose – would you rather your child wander off in a giant retail establishment or wander off toward the exit of said retail establishment and subsequent parking lot?
Again with the hearing loss. So of course I grab her which always turns out well. By well I mean that one of us is falling, yelling or both. We then discuss why walking out the exit without an adult is not the best possible course of action. Crisis averted. Lesson learned.
All of this leading up to the best parenting moment ever.
In the car my child says, “Mommy, I’m really sorry I didn’t walk out of the store with you.” At that very moment, I think I heard the heaven’s singing and I am mostly feeling like the self-righteous parent that I foolishly think I am. My husband says, “Thank you for apologizing.” Me, taking advantage of this teachable moment, say to my child, “It’s ok sweetie, you made a bad choice. Sometimes we make bad choices. Next time you can choose differently”. As I silently congratulate myself on what an amazing parent I am, my child responds without skipping a beat. “Sometimes I hit play (on her DVD player) but I really don’t mean to hit play.”
Oh yeah, I totally just taught my child the importance of pressing the right button on her DVD player. Yay me! Most. Amazing. Parent. Ever.
All I can do is laugh. Laugh at myself for thinking I have it all figured out. Laugh because parenting is serious business and yet it somehow also can help you not take yourself so seriously.