Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still Normal

Before I was a parent, I thought I knew it all. I would NEVER do x, y and z. Ever. Not even think about it.

Who could ever lose their temper and yell at an innocent toddler?

Who could put off changing a wet diaper until finding a more convenient location?

Who on Earth would breast feed in public, without a cover? And a toddler no less!

And how could people be so wrapped up in their children to the point that they are pulled completely out of their former lives?

And then I had kids.

Yeah, I think the story is the same for just about every mom.

"I would never" always comes back to bite you in the butt. Oh, sure, you can probably keep maybe half of those things you said you'd never do, but the other half? Dude, it happens.

Thing is, once you're a parent you change. Your worldview changes and you feel so many different emotions at such intensities as you never would have expected. You suddenly find things you used to enjoy to be incredibly dull, and things you used to loath suddenly seem like the best thing ever. You grow and shift and change in ways you could not possibly anticipate.

And yet... you're still normal.

You're still a human being.

Your intelligence and strength doesn't suddenly increase, and you aren't suddenly gifted with super human powers.

You don't suddenly know everything and you certainly aren't all powerful.

You're just a normal, run of the mill person who happens to be in charge of the upbringing of another human being. And most likely, no matter what choices you make when it comes to that upbringing, that tiny human being will probably grow up just fine.

And of course, those of us who are raising tiny human beings happen to have opinions on how everyone else should raise their tiny human being.

What if spanking makes them violent? What if too much TV makes them dumb? What if spoiling them makes them useless to society?

And I get that. I get that people worry, and we should worry to some extent. Some very awful things have been the norm until enough people questioned and fought against it.

Even so, I get very, very perturbed when people pull out "blame the victim" type thinking and start to blame the parents for any tragedy that occurs.

That teenager wouldn't have had to endure hate mail on the internet if her parents had protected her like they were supposed to!

The mother must have been doing something wrong while she was driving or else her son wouldn't have been hurt!

There must be a reason that something bad happened to this minor... blame the parents!

And I used to get caught up in that type of thinking too....

I used to wonder why there was so much of an issue with teen sex, drug use, gangs etc. And then I'd wonder about all the teens playing video games 24/7 or being jerks online or just plain ole being annoying at the mall.

Why weren't their parents stepping in to stop this kind of behavior?

So, yeah, I don't have a teen, but I do have a 5 year old. A child old enough to have thoughts and opinions, to have mannerisms, preferences, personal relationships, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. A child who marches to the beat of his own drum.

And suddenly I realize that it's not as easy as one might think.

Children aren't robots, to be given orders and expected to obey without hesitation. They're human beings. And they don't just grow physically and academically as they age, they need to grow mentally, emotionally and socially. They need to test limits, try and err, fail and make mistakes, succeed and bask in glory. Sure, there are a lot of things you can do to help them out, but at some point you just have to realize that they are their own little person and they can't hide behind your legs forever.

Not entirely sure why I'm thinking about this today. I guess it could be that the boys are getting bigger so quickly. Or maybe the plethora of "when I have kids I'll never" and "If I were her/his mom I'd" statements I've been hearing.

Alright, now I'd better hurry and relax, before the boys are up from nap. It's a Sunday so Ambrose is slated to make an early appearance...

1 comment:

manymanymoons said...

I had this exact conversation with my mom regarding my 17 year old sister this past weekend. She is such a pig when it comes to cleaning her room and it's gotten out of control. I asked my mom why she didn't just "make her clean it". She informed me that I have no idea what it means to "just make" a child do something and someday I'll think back on my comments and laugh. Sounds like you're in the same boat as my mom.

Great post.