Below I am going to post a picture of someone who DOES NOT have everything together.
It’s the person on the left, by the way.
The Dave Matthews Band girl.
I haven’t figured out how to get to bed early enough to NOT be tired the next day. I still don’t know how Spotify works. I am constantly wondering if I’m screwing up my kids (there’s a good chance I am, but that experiment won’t be complete until they have kids of their own). And I worry constantly about typical teen issues that my older girls go through. Please know that we are NOT the perfect family and certainly do NOT have it all figured out; however, I’m not going to share all the details of my oldest girls because, well, it’s THEIR business.
But, there are SOME things that I have down pat. And I wanted to share them with you. It’s definitely not how to bake the perfect cake or how to multitask because I stink at that, too.
Hang with me here and hopefully these 7 parenting blunders will pique your interest.
Not taking the road trip or vacation. If it takes you all year to save up enough money to spend a long weekend at a semi-decent hotel 3 hours away, do it. For many many years, we drove to the Georgia National Fair. (Think: Charlotte’s Web and Fern’s prize pig) We pulled our girls out of school to spend the day there. Allison participated in the Mutton Bustin’ and it was just the BEST time. We didn’t mind them missing school (still don’t) for trips such as that one. They were learning more at the fair than they would in class. These days, no matter how much we need to stretch, no matter what we have to sacrifice, we are always going to take the vacation. Not only because we need to relax, but our girls need to get away just as much as their parents do. Taking trips together forces them to work together (ever tried to get a toddler through customs at nearly midnight in another country? It takes more than one person. It takes 8.). It shows them that other people/families aren’t just like them. Of course, they learn SO MUCH by getting outside of their bubble. If you’re unsure? Take the vacation.
Relying too much on equipment. Okay, listen. Like I said, I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know that you don’t need all that fancy stuff for babies OR big kids. You don’t need the top-notch swing or the grooviest high chair. You don’t need to buy an app that tells you when to feed or wake your baby. You don’t have to have a baby wipe warmer either. The only thing they need from you is love. And love doesn’t look like a 500 dollar baby monitor. And don’t rely on the stroller all the time either. Let your toddler walk around. Er…I mean run, and you know I do. We very rarely put Josie in her stroller now because she likes to feel “big” and it’s a time for us to teach her HOW to walk in public spaces. Big-n-fancy equipment isn’t necessary so save your money for all the chocolate you’re gonna need.
Sending them to an all white school. There is increasing evidence that diversity makes us smarter. But, that isn’t the reason you should avoid an all white (or all Indian/Chinese/African American) school. I’ll just lay it out there and say that it’s IGNORANT for you choose that for your child. I’m only able to speak for the white people because, as you can see from my picture up top, I’m about as white as they come. So listen up White People. You ain’t the boss of this place. My kids know that. They feel that. I want them to walk the halls, the streets, the mall, the football games, with kids and parents of all color. How dumb would it be for them NOT to? My child (and yours) needs to be comfortable working and interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Sending them to a diverse school is ONLY the start, but it’s a pretty good one.
Bribing them. Yeah. I wrote this in my notes, but I’m not even going to touch this one now. Today I had to give my kid TWO suckers just to get her in her car seat. Clearly, I’m not above bribery. Hey. We all have our downfalls.
Over-scheduling. Our girls are allowed to choose one sport because we just can’t manage multiple activities per kid. (Mind you, Allison does play in band as well as soccer, however, band is 95% in the classroom for now) Can you imagine how much driving there would be if we allowed four girls to choose more than one activity? We would never see each other outside of the GMC Yukon. We’d never have free nights to just be at home and enjoy each other. We’d never have Friday Night Movie Nights. Keep your schedule light and get to know each other in the meantime. Allow your kids to get bored so they can learn to entertain themselves. Unlike what most parents think, keeping kids busy isn’t going to keep them out of trouble. It’s just going to keep you in the car.
Protecting them from natural consequences. Whew. Now this one is a tough one. Seeing your child fail is not easy to do, is it? However, protecting them from that fall isn’t going to enforce the consequences they face when they make a bad decision. They need to learn from their mistakes and not expect mommy and daddy to clean up their mess. And you know what parents? How about we stop siding with the student instead of believing in the teacher? Too much protection is likely to make them believe that life has no real consequences. That? Will lead them to risky and dangerous behavior because…. “nah, nothing will happen to me and mom or dad will help me”.
Letting them out of your sight before you have to leave the house. Trust me on this one. Keep an eye on them or you’re going to be super late. Plus, you’re going to have to clean up something. I can pinky promise you that one. I suggest buckling them all into their seats, walking back into the house for a few minutes and just…..standing there. DO NOT announce the departure and THEN try and round everyone up. As soon as that toddler hears that you are getting in the car? G O N E. She will find the only Sharpie marker in the house and color a beautiful self portrait behind the piano. And then you too will be bribing your child with two suckers just to get her into the carseat.
Like I said up top, I most definitely don’t have it all together and I won’t ever tell you that I do. I especially don’t want anyone to think I have my act together. However, I have figured out these few things and wanted to pass them along to you. Some silly, but others pretty serious. And listen, you know what? You are doing an amazing job, too, and maybe you don’t have it all together either.
But hey. You hang in there mama. We’re all in this together.
And you deserve a sucker.