I’m imaging we may all have felt this way at some point in our lives. We may or may have not always dreamed of being a parent. What does being a parent even mean? Well the obvious answer would be you have kids. But just making children isn’t parenting, is it? Well if parenting isn’t making kids, what is it really?
Each of us likely has a different opinion on what is parenting. Consider that traditionally men and women had different roles in the nuclear family. Men typically worked, while women stayed at home cleaning, cooking, and caring for the children. Now the world is nothing like it was back in the old days. Now we have strong business women who contribute to the work force while still holding down the fort and raising children. Can we say multitask much? The traditional roles are broken and now parenting is not just for the moms but also for the dads.
So, what does modern day parenting look like? For starters, there is no real way to parent, we just do it. But I feel personally we have taken traditional parenting and tossed in some highly sophisticated multitaskers with fresh and new perspectives on how to raise children. We have the dual working families who work yet continue to successfully raise their children and maintain their home. There are the “crunchy” parents who focus on organic foods, naturalistic approaches to life, and homeopathic remedies for healthcare. We have the standard parents, who parent like their parents did. Sticking to old traditional while still doing a darn good job of raising their little people. But still we haven’t answered what is parenting?
Parenting is what you make of it. It’s the choices you make and the outlook you have on your life and the lives of your children. There is no wrong and no right answer. There are many articles and tv shows that like to explain how parenting should be. They give you rules and regulations to create successful parenting. But you know what? That’s a bunch of bologna. WE as humans are not perfect and the false idea that there is some sort of parenting manual is beyond absurd. If I ever needed parenting advice I asked the experts, other parents. Parents who have already went through the stage of life I am currently at and can give honest, yet sometimes scary, truths.
I guess the long and the short of it is that there is no answer to the question of what is parenting. I can tell you what I feel is parenting but it is likely not what you feel is parenting or the neighbor down the road feels, or the tv self-help guru’s feel. To better explain what I believe is parenting, we must take a small stroll down memory lane so I can explain exactly why I feel like I do about parenting.
I was not a kid “person”, I was the person who got ultra-uncomfortable around kids. The boogers, the long elaborate leading nowhere stories, the diapers, the goo’s and the gahs. I didn’t like playing with small children and I certainly never ever thought about having children. I was 25 with my first child and I’ll be honest, I was terrified. What would they say? Would I be any good at this thing? Did I just give up all free time for 18 years? Yes, to all the above. I was not good at parenting. I was still uncomfortable around others peoples kids.
Well two kids later and a ton of patience. I mean a ton, like truckloads of patience. I found out I am a pretty darn good parent. Kid #1 was the toughie. I was worried about anything and everything. Checking him a thousand times a night just to make sure he was breathing. Waking at every little sound. Kid #2 was way easier. I still worried but not as much and the things I was nitpicky about with my son, I was less so with my daughter. My kids would survive with non-organic everything and Luv’s diapers and store diapers worked just as well as high priced name brand ones. I breast fed my son and didn’t my daughter. I know there is controversy on the benefits of breast feeding and hey I support both breast feeding and formula feeding. Here is my honest truth, both of my children are smart, healthy, and sassy. You would never be able to tell who was breast fed and who was not.
So, whether you are a mommy who does organic everything or a mom who breast feeds freely in public, know you are a great parent. If you are overworked, overtired, and overall a mess, you are still a good parent. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and the fact that we can even survive lack of sleep is a miracle in its self. So, let loose, if you kid wants a hot dog, give them a hot dog. If they happen to eat dirt, they will be okay. If you feel you are doing something wrong remember all the ways you are doing things right. We are our toughest critics. Lastly let’s unite as parents. Instead of judgments and criticism lets encourage understanding and support for each other.