October 5, 2011 in Minimalist Parenting
That’s me. I am the one in the back row sitting on a real chair looking at a book ….. or possibly texting at the back of story time (or any number of kids activities). I watch the mothers sitting on the floor, bright-eyed, trying to get their kids to participate, following funny actions, and making baby talk with jealousy, guilt and amusement.
The truth is I am just not a kid person. I don’t like children. If reading this makes you think of evil witches, or serial killers you obviously ARE a kid person. Not everyone was made to be a kindergarten teacher.
I have been thinking on this for the past few days and am processing it. A few years ago I read a statistic that 1/3 of parents wouldn’t have had their kids if they could get a do over. I was, and still am, appalled by this. It is sad. I wanted kids and would still have my kids if given the choice again…. but now that I have them, I still don’t quite know what to do with them.
What I know for sure is that I want the best for them, and I want to be the best parent I can to them. In looking at my parenting style I probably parent with a business perspective (which is my degree… so it would make sense). I want to output the best product in the time given. I read books on the subject, stress over processes and schedules, second guess decisions and make changes at the last-minute. To be healthy human beings I work very hard at helping them be healthy and learn healthy habits. I want them to contribute to society and try to teach compassion and teamwork. I want them to learn as much as they can, learn how to teach them selves, and fall in love with a life time of learning. I want them to be self-controlled so that they can make the best decisions and not fall for fast, cheap substitutes. It isn’t that I want them to be good so I look good. I feel it is my responsibility as a parent and to God to raise them as ‘right’ as I am able.
This works great if I was going to do a math problem or program a computer. It might even work to train a dog. Kids are a whole other level of unexpected. They have no manual. I struggle because at the same ‘well of personality’ that I didn’t get my love for children or my special child-ready ’sing-song’ voice, I also somehow missed out on the patience. …. this would make me a special ed kindergarten teacher from……
I am aware that this makes me a poor choice for staying at home and homeschooling, but I really feel that it is best for my kids to be home growing up, and now to be homeschooled also. I feel it is best for all of us and that it offers us all a growing opportunity (though, sometimes I feel like I am breaking instead of growing)
I believe that I am made the way I am and am given my kids for a reason. I find and create all kinds of pressure with parenting. I stress over what makes a good parent?
- being a kids best friend?
- having a kid that obeys?
- having a kid go to Harvard (or equivalent)?
- having a healthy kid?
- having a socially adjusted kid?
- having a kid that makes the football team (or goes on to play music professionally)?
- having a kid that ‘realizes their true dream’ (whatever that might be, how can that be measured?)?
- having a kid that Loves the Lord?
The problem with the ‘business parenting model’ is that it is very unattached. I have always struggled with attachment. Sure, I love my kids, but I wish I really felt connected to them. I am scared that if I can’t connect with them as kids, then the teenage years will be impossible.
I have never been good with connecting. I don’t think many people are. Something to do with society and past hurts makes it easier. My wonderful husband has taught me how to connect in our marriage. We love spending time together and would rather be with each other than pretty much anything. I want the same thing with my kids now as well as after they grow up. I want our family to be tight and experience joy and loss as a unit. This is my ideal, but, I haven’t figured it out yet.
So, there is my confession. I am not a great parent, but I don’t think a love for children has to be a prerequisite. Don’t look down on me because I hate sitting on hard floors or doing silly actions, I am trying my best just like you are. Sometimes I wish I was as good as you interacting with my kids…. and sometimes I vow never to look that ridiculous.
This is a blog on simplicity, and it is my goal in life… but if you have read a few of my posts you know that I am far from figuring the concept out. With parenting also, I want to take the stress out and just enjoy it. But it isn’t like making a cake… if it falls or burns I can just start again, parenting is serious business.
Re-reading this post I think it sounds like a downer. I don’t mean it like that. I had a bad day last week with parenting and it was really stressing me out, but for the most part we really do have fun together learning. There is just those moments that smack me behind the head and leave me frantically searching for a book with answers… and there isn’t one