Just moments I got a call from a teacher at my son's school, saying he felt nervous because he was presenting his science project and parents were coming to watch and he forgot to tell us. Luckily, even though my daughter and I were in our pj's, Jeff has Mondays off, so I sent him on a whim. He had to get there in 10 minutes, but he was all set to go anyways, so he walked out the door immediately. The sad part is, why didn't I know about this already? I'm the one who helped him (basically did) the science project with him. But there is a part of me that feels like a bad mom because how did I miss that today was his presentation day. Was there a paper sent home that I missed? Did Wes tell me at some point and I forgot?
What is it that makes a bad mom?
I was on a whole rant inside my brain last week on this topic because of the overwhelming posts on my facebook newsfeed lately with vents on other parents, and how and what they 'should' be doing...
Honestly, parenting is hard enough. It's hard making decisions based on each individual child's needs. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. If you are a parent of multiple children you know this. Parenting is exhausting and scary and frustrating. It's hard enough without trying to feel like you need to live up to the standards of what another parent chooses for their children, much less a single person with no children. That's the worst.
Parenting is not black and white. It's a whole lot of grey.
Unless something is specifically morally corrupt, it's hard to say what is wrong and right or what is best and it boils down to the child and the family and their schedule and the family's needs.
Where one mom has to work, another mom feels it's necessary to stay home with her kids.
When one parent feels homeschooling is the answer, another feels like pushing their child socially is what their child needs to develop certain skills.
When one child needs communication, another needs strict discipline.
I have felt like a bad mom on several times. On my own. With no one's help.
And I will admit, other people have made me feel worse. I have felt the pressure to homeschool from homeschool parents, as I hear of all the evils of the public school system. But what people don't know is what goes down in my home when the topic of homeschooling comes up. It's a fight of parent against parent...and unfortunately one of us looks like we are 'taking sides' with the child who 'wants' to stay home and avoid people. I've finally taken a back seat on this discussion, because I am choosing to honor my husband in what he feels is best and in the end, this is best for my son...seeing that I respect the decisions that Jeff makes.
End of discussion. Unless Jeff changes his mind.
I've felt like a bad parent because I knew people disapproved that my daughter used to like Justin Beiber at the age of five. I really had no problem with it when he was a child. I knew he would grow up and get into trouble. It's inevitable in the celebrity world. And I knew his background and upbringing was Christian...
So, I never felt the need to forbid Jada to 'like' Justin Beiber, because I figured it would wear off just like Dora The Explorer and the "witches" on that show or Barbie and all her ridiculous 'materialism' or My Little Pony and all the 'sorcery and magic.'
Although I usually skipped the "witchdoctor" episodes on Dora, but now what do I do about Barbie and her two mile long closet filled with that many clothes? Really? Barbie? C'mon! Clearly, that's not right to teach my child either.
Eeesh. Parenting is exhausting.
Everything out there, every single cartoon, every single musician is filled with some sort of thing that many parents would consider having a 'negative' effect on their children, some other parent may disapprove of because of their personal convictions. Where one parent may really disapprove of My Little Pony, they may be totally comfortable with letting their kids watch Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer with a story about Santa Claus. Is both the sorcery and the lie about Santa wrong? Probably. Do we all feel as strongly about the extent we carry our convictions out? Probably not.
Do you or do you not let your kids watch Elf?
Do you or do you not laugh at "it's a sucky thing" just like everyone else?
I honestly don't think their are alot of "bad" parents.
At least not what sometimes we deem as a bad parent. There are certainly those who are abusive or neglect. There are certainly those who can't seem to take care of their own lives, much less try to raise little children to be capable, decision making adults...
but a parent that schools their children a different way, feeds their children a different way, lets their children celebrate holidays a different way, watch or listen to different music or tv shows, parents who do discipline a different way than we do are not bad parents.
It's funny because when my kids go to my parents house, my dad will never let them watch Goosebumps. I guess because the very nature of the show is supposed to be scary or something. And I can guarantee if that show existed when I was young, we would not be allowed to watch it.
But it's the cheesiest thing I've ever seen, so I have no problem with it.
This morning we were discussing shows with "ghosts" with my kids because Leila wanted to watch Casper and Wesley was just asking me about the scariest movies I've ever seen the other day... and personally in general I'm not crazy about it, for my kids in particular, because in essence, ghosts are 'dead people' walking around, and why do I want to let my kids watch death, even when Hollywood tries to make it cute? (This is despite Slappy the talking doll on Goosebumps...is that a ghost? I don't know. Probably.) Wes brought up that I had let him watch Scooby Doo and I was like "Well, maybe I shouldn't anymore." And Jeff said, "Yeah, but in Scooby Doo, it always just ends up being a person, not a ghost."
Well, yes, that's true too...
And on the other hand, Jeff sure does love watching The Walking Dead...
Um, double standard?
That's what I mean. Parenting is hard. Parenting is not black and white. All situations are NOT the same. All kids are NOT the same. I definitely cannot discipline Wesley like I do Jada. Wesley covers his ears in fear, cowering in the corner and screaming like we are going to hurt him~literally,
when we even raise our voice. Jada looks at us and laughs likes its a joke. Not kidding.
She has actually told me when I was yelling at her, while laughing at me "You're face looks weird."
That's a whole new level of discipline for that one, than the one who thinks you will kill them just because your voice goes up a notch or two.
We don't know the situations of families inside their homes. We don't know what parents have done and tried with specific kids. We don't know what parents have talked about with their kids, what they have been through, what disabilities they may be dealing with...so why do we presume to 'know" and to make assumptions and give unsolicited "advice."
Sure, we may think it when we see it when we see the mom yelling and dragging the screaming child in the grocery store, but do we need to make her feel worse? One person may think "Wow, I need to call social services on that lady." While another person thinks "Oh my gosh, that poor woman, I should help her. I know what that is like." While yet another person thinks, "Why doesn't she control her kids? She must "spare the rod and spoil the child. She needs to discipline."
How do you know that she doesn't discipline when she gets to the car?
And for the record, in the beginning of this school year, Jada is eight now and came home from school telling me she didn't like Justin Beiber anymore because she heard from her friends about some of his latest shenanigans in public. I didn't pat her on the back (although I was proud of her decision), I told her "Well, honey, I think when people get famous, they get alot of pressure from other people and alot of times they make bad decisions and do stupid things. We all make bad descisions. Instead of saying we don't like them, why don't we just pray for him, because I know his mom and other people are praying for him too." And she agreed.
It just frustrates me. The level of judging people do on what is probably the hardest job in the world.
We all need to rely on our own intuition and the needs of our own children and families. If we need advice, we ask for it. Honestly, for me, I pray alot about things that I'm not sure about. There is so much grey. I wish it was all black and white. I wish we all had a handbook, but God made us parents so he has given us the ability to do this, whether we feel like we are doing a good job or not.
One of my favorite blog posts about parenting was written on the Matt Walsh Blog. If you ever feel like you've been judged by people in public, because of the way your kids are acting, you will love this:
This one is also good:
There are other people who do relate to you. Not everyone is judging you.
You ARE a good mom or dad, despite what people say on facebook or how you feel after you just had a meltdown in the presence of your children. I watched this video and I cried...When mom's feel like they aren't good enough, their children see them quite differently.
and this is HILARIOUS if you need a good laugh about being a parent.
Thanks to Brooke for sharing it with me...