I find I keep asking myself this question:
Am I messing up my kid?
I didn’t fully realize how many choices I’d have to make for my child, every day. Nor did I realize just how hard some of these choices would be. Even with the “easy” decisions, sometimes there has to be some flexibility, so there are more decisions to be made regarding where the lines bend.
For instance, we try not to let our little one watch TV, or have any screen time, because of what I learned in my ECE studies and the recommendations made to parents from researching the effects of media on developing brains. However, these dazzling screens do have the power to keep little ones hypnotized on the flashy movements and fast pace of the electronic 2D world. For us, when we are stuck on a flight with an extremely antsy toddler in our lap, our judgement wiggles a bit to decide which is worse: a screaming, writhing toddler-terrorist, or tuning in to Mom’s iPhone? Certainly this is a perfect time for a compromise, but which other of the many times that I need a moment to get something done are we okay with this flexibility?
Balance, I believe, is so important to life, but it’s not always easy to know which weights to place on each side of the scales.
There are a million and one big and little choices to be made, each and every day, about how we raise our children. And because we must choose, sometimes I feel like there is a “right” and “wrong” choice. (Perhaps this is a product of being raised in a culture and language based on opposites?)
The truth is, though, there is no “Gold Star” at the end. Yes, we hope to raise (our personal version of) amazing individuals, but parenting them isn’t like taking a test. It’s more like completing a triathlon.
Just with a few more than 3 different challenges.
Each challenge calls for a different strength. A different mindset. A different decision to be made as to the best ways to push on through with enough energy and mindfulness to make it through the next. There is no “perfect” score, as there are no “right” choices. There are only decisions made to the absolute best of each parent’s unique situation.
So while I will always think back and forth about the pros and cons to every situation, I will remember that no one decision, is going to result in my failure as a parent.
There are a many, many different ways to do anything regarding the way you raise your child, and there are many, many different reasons to do or not to do each different thing.
The way I see it, so long as each parent puts some consideration in as to what choices are out there, what the positive and negative consequences of each may be, and what makes the most sense to their own children, their own families, and themselves, in their own specific time and place, that’s the best we can do.
If you’re still not sure how you measure up as a mom (or parent, but you’ll need to disregard the “mom” wording), feel better and take this questionnaire: Am I a Good Mom?