Parenting is hard. If it is not, then you are not doing it right. Don’t get me wrong some days, even weeks are smooth sailing. That is why many of us have more than one. Well that and they are so darn cute and funny. Do not forget the funny!!! The funny is what keeps us all going and this is by design so we won’t kill them! But really, parenting is hard! Whether you are a Domestic Engineer or work outside the home having kids is a full time adventure. So why do we make it so hard on each other as parents? If I had a dollar for every peer parent out there that started the comment off with…. “I know every child is different BUT…” I would be rolling in dough! I literally mean that because if I was that rich I could cross that item off my bucket list. I dream of the day….ok back on track here.
Recently I was invited to a Mom’s coffee on one of my very few days off. I was extremely excited that they would invite me to their weekly coffee. If you are a working mom you can relate…that is a whole new topic. I arrived to the meeting place and put my cheeks in the sit. The topics were normal, school, husbands, lack of help, blah blah blah. I listened and nodded but didn’t say much. Not because I didn’t want to because I didn’t need to. There was plenty of talking! Then one mom looks over at me and says, “Well your children are always so well behaved, maybe we should go work so someone else can raise our children too”. Pause…because I know you are.
I wanted to say many many things that would not be appropriate. I also wanted to ask her if what she was really saying was that she was capable of raising her own children? I mean really she is basically saying that she stays home all day to tend to them and is failing.
However, I simply smiled and told her that I have “public children”. They behave in public because we have always taught them there is no choice. If they want to go and do things they simply must behave. Ever since a young age we have given them jobs or tasks while we are out. They are included in the event not just brought along. Apparently I have six heads people….the looks…could…make one laugh. So I asked, don’t you include your kids in the things you are attempting to accomplish? I received no response.
So I asked a more simple question… do you make your children order their own food if you are out? I was amazed that they all said no.
DaddyCool and I are not perfect, we are far far from it, but we use each and every event to create a learning opportunity for our children. Now do they know it, not always, but it builds them. Ever since they could speak clearly, we have encouraged them to speak up with eye contact to the server and order their own food. I cannot even count to number of benefits this provides them for the future. Public speaking, confidence, decision making on the spot, living with the choice they made… the list could go on.
When we are driving down the street we price shop for gas and decide which station is cheaper and why.
When we grocery shop they know to look for the price per xxx price and not just a price to find a bargain.
If we go through a drive thru we play a game called good or bad. Once we order the food (and roll up the window…very important) the kids rate the customer service of the speaker voice and then have to decide if they would return here solely based on service. This is a dangerous one as my youngest, 3, had his window open and blurted out, “Hey Momma he didn’t say please when he took your money”. The man, all of 19, looked in the car and say “You are right little man and I am sorry,” These are all life skills.
I am not sure I will be invited back for coffee on my next day off, but I am hoping I helped some children that morning. I think as parents we too often focus on all the things that others do or think we should. We need to do the best we can with what we have. Every home situation is different that is true…but all have down time, drive time, errands and other events that promote the opportunity to build and grow our kids to be better “people”. These are awesome opportunities to teach them what they won’t get in school and the most important stuff to get from YOU.
Oh and by the way…no one is allowed to drive in my car at any time I have kids in it or visit my house between the hours of 4pm and bedtime. It is just safer that way…..
Parents we are all in this together…..just play nice.