Are We Making This Too Hard?
I'm a parent (a mom to be exact).
You might be one, too.
And my question is...are we making this whole parenting thing way harder than it needs to be?
Don't get me wrong: no matter how you slice the Parenthood Pie, it's going to be challenging.
But I'm starting to wonder if we are purposely going the extra mile to add even more layers of difficulty to the whole thing.
But it may not necessarily be all our fault. Let me explain this a little further...
While I'm not exactly a Helicopter Mom, I am with my 5 (soon to be 6) children an extraordinary amount of time, what with homeschooling them. And when I try to give them some "free range"-type time, my husband freaks out that I am not right there on top of them, watching over their shoulders. And beware that one of the younger ones bumps their head or gets a minor injury...because there is going to be the 3rd degree on where I was and why was I not able to stop it from happening.
He worries. I get it. I do.
But I also think that kids need space to learn (especially from mistakes...theirs and others) and grow and to gain confidence in their independence and choices.
But if you pan out the Camera of Life to look at the bigger picture, I'm starting to wonder if the current generations of parents (myself included) are doing many other things to create additional stress and difficulty where there doesn't need to be.
A big part of me thinks that our grandparents and parents were on to something....
"You kids go on outside and play. Don't come home til dinner time/when the streetlights come on."
Having a little drink in the evening to calm the nerves and ease the stress of the day. (Excessive drinking and alcoholism are not what I'm talking about)
"You kids take that fighting outside! I don't want any furniture to break!" (I'm actually known to yell that one at my boys)
Kids riding bikes around the neighborhood to their friends' houses. Very limited access to video games and other electronics.
Simple birthday parties with a little cake, a few kid games and presents. Instead of over planned, über expensive events that break the bank and stress everyone out. Each mom trying to outdo all the other moms.
And I'm telling you...I love Meemaw from Young Sheldon. And when she confessed (with a grin!!) that she gave Sheldon a little bit of cough syrup to calm him down...well, I honestly applauded her. Could I do it myself? Probably not. But it sure sounded a heck of a lot better than listening to irrational temper tantrums and what-have-you.
And I'm in the middle of reading (yeah...it's taking awhile with all of the breaks I have to take) The Glass Castle: A Memoir after watching the movie last night. And while I definitely am shocked/saddened by some of the parents' behavior (no spoiler alerts here...but there were some definite instances that never should have happened)...many of their parenting philosophies are ones I strongly believe in. Even my kids were awed while watching, saying how many of the quotes are things I have said on many occasions, like about how life (and living it) is the best education.
But nowadays it's all everything-needs-to-be-organic, elaborate birthday parties, Hollywood-worthy maternity & baby pictures, being with your child every minute of every day and doing everything for your child, so that they learn to do nothing on their own...no alcohol, no "bad" vices, just Mommy & her Xanax. Because it can't be bad if a doctor prescribes it, right? ::sarcastic wink::
Ladies, I'm tired. Bone tired. I'd love to be able to get a shower and get all dolled up every day. Or to sit down and read a book like I used to. But it seems like that's looked at like I'm being selfish. Because I'm a stay-at-home mom does that mean that I'm relegated to a life of messy hair, organic Cheerios stuck to my clothes (then again...our food and every day products are chock full of carcinogens that weren't in them 30+ years ago) and stressing that I didn't take my kids to 5,000 extracurricular activities this week? Not to mention the Mommy Guilt that some like to shove down our throats on social media and at play dates.
Grandparents swear that it's so much more enjoyable to be grandparents as opposed to parents. Because you're finally able to enjoy kids being kids while still having your own identity. Don't get me wrong! I love being with my kids every day & being "there" for all of their milestones! I love babywearing and extended breastfeeding. But isn't there a way to successfully incorporate the two?
What are your thoughts? Are we making this way harder than it needs to be?