When I started this blog a couple of years ago I was in a bubble on our homestead with young, precocious children without a care in the world. Things have changed so much since then. I find having a couple of preteens and all four actively homeschooled leaves me very little time for things like writing, painting, being carefree...not to mention more important things like bathing in peace or making the bed. I can't even keep a straight face on that line, I don't remember the last time either of those happened.
But one thing I have noticed is parenting has gotten a lot harder. Just since Bella has been born parenting has become so trendsetting theories are everywhere. Things have gotten so out of hand people compete to see who can be the most zen and creative best friend their kids have ever seen. (I'm sorry but I'm not even going to consider baby bird feeding my kids.) I've tried to show the light hearted side of motherhood but now realize my bubble made me see my children's childhood in rose colored glasses (or maybe rainbow colored ones on more exciting days.)
Because of those glasses being so rudely broken (four kids is it really that surprising they're broken?) I thought maybe I'd just tear it down to brass tacks. By that I'm going to do the very thing that drives me crazy, I'm going to tell you exactly how to fail as a parent. No, you didn't read that last sentence wrong I said FAIL!
Your probably all shaking your head thinking that's it she's finally lost it. My response....finally? I lost it the moment I found out I was going to be a mom. I devoured every book I could find. Thought I had all the answers, smirked when Martin slept through the night the first night home from the hospital. And then the second day home came......
I have tried every method of discipline known, looked at every psycho babble that came along, promised not to yell, find myself yelling, promised a million different times I was going to not screw up this gig. Guess what I fail every time I make that promise. I am not my kids' best friend, they don't always like me, and sometimes I'm not sure if they'll all survive till dinner without mommy hiding in the corner rocking and babbling to herself. (I find a great deal of relief in knowing I'm not the only parent that fails to keep it perfectly together everyday.)
Guess what else...my kids are individuals. They know right from wrong. They have different tastes in everything from clothes to music to activities they enjoy. They get punished differently. They are very afraid when they get caught. (As they should be.) But are they afraid of me? Not on your life. They're afraid of the punishment. Do they think if I don't explain every decision their father and I make they feel like they're not members of this family? lol That one is just utterly ridiculous. Do they understand life isn't fair and sometimes things just don't go your way? What kind of parent would I be if I led them to believe that the world would bend to their every whim while under our roof, then threw them out in the real world to find out the truth. I let them fail. And their failures are their own.
Once again you're probably rereading that last sentence going what? That's right. They fail and it's their fault. I don't fix it for them. But Honeybear and I are right there to help them up and give them the tools to fix it themselves. And hopefully I fail to step in enough that they learn to fix their problems themselves and not rely on others while they sit in the middle of their mess going but it's not my fault. (Remember the age old adage "Your raising the next generation." I'd like them not to be boomerang babies.)
Notice I've refrained from mentioning one concrete piece of advice or disciplinary tactics? Because children and families aren't cookie cutters! What works for Martin doesn't work for Degan or Madison. The only two things that in general terms holds for every child and parent is...1) know your child and 2) there has yet to be a perfect parent in the history of humanity the only thing you can hope for is you don't screw up to badly. So how do you fail at being a parent? You get pregnant.