I never really thought about how I would parent a child when I was little. Actually never thought I would be fortunate enough to have kids. But then again, if my life had turned out what I thought I would never get, I would have nothing that I have now. Definitely blessed in my life and thankful every day!
That said, I think any parent has kids and kind of wings it for 18 years. I know there are some who are WAY more thought out than many, but I have never been that person.
When I had kids, I went based on what I know, and that was partially what my parents taught me growing up (which is provide for your children and keep them alive). My parents were stern, but no real structure and no over parenting. However, we knew where we stood as kids and we knew where to draw the line.
In my house, if you did wrong, you got spanked. I did get grounded, but I’m not sure it stuck beyond the first few days. My parents couldn’t be bothered with such monitoring, and I find I am the exact same way!
As my kids are older, one graduated and one in her senior year, I’m seeing how my kids have “kind of” turned out. And though we have had a few bumps along the way, I’m pretty proud of my kids. They are smart, articulate, kind, compassionate, caring, they both have jobs, doing well in school, yadda yadda yadda…. I know they have a not-so-good side as well, but who’s perfect??
That said, when my older daughter went to college, I think her eyes opened up. She saw all new people and was faced with the results of different parenting styles (based on how the kids acted). When she had to come home due to being sick, she had to readjust to home life again. It was stressful for a bit. But having to come home and see old friends and meet new friends, she started seeing things differently.
As we grow up, we only know what we know, and what we live on the daily. In our house, my husband and I are yellers and cussers (me more than him …gasp). I have heard time and again, “You shouldn’t argue in front of your kids!”. I have heard it and I have been in front of my parents while they screamed at each other and I remember how awful it made me feel, because I was too young to know the context of what they were screaming about. Of course as I got older it was a lot of “AHHHAAAA” moments; some I agreed with and some I didn’t.
That said, I can assure you that we did, in fact, yell in front of our kids. And they hated it. But they also saw the forgiving or reconciliation side, which brought everything full circle. And one thing I can say about the hubs and me, is we usually always come back together, finish our arguments, and get back to the happy. But during those younger years man, it was HARD to get along all the time. Raising littles is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s exhausting, and when you are exhausted, you aren’t always nice.
But I can honestly say, looking back at those trying years and seeing how hubs and I got through it, I’m kind of proud of us for sticking it out. God knows that we both wanted to throw in the towel a few times because it all didn’t seem like it was going to be worth it. And I love him more today than ever because we stuck it out through a lot of stressful times!!!
Back to raising kids…
If you know me, you know I’m not really the conventional mom. I mean, I AM…. but I’m also the mom that other moms call and say, “HI, You are on Speaker and my kids are in the car!” which simply put means, “Please keep your F-bombs to a minimum….” I always appreciated that warning, because depending on the subject, shit just flies out of my mouth without a second thought!
I can’t say I am proud of it…but it’s been a common thread for as long as I can remember! When I was fourteen and my (older and wiser) friend told me, “You’d better stop cussing because when you get older and have kids it is gonna bite you in the butt!”. I thought, ya ya ya… and went on with my life….
FAST FORWARD….(I’m not making this up).
I was on the phone, Aspen was about 3 or 4 and I was on the phone with the same friend… I was working on a project for her and I asked her a question. I didn’t believe her answer and said, “No fucking way!” ….and on the other side of my desk, hiding, I hear a tiny voice say, “Yes fucking way!” … It was Aspen and I GASPED out loud (because I did USED to try to not cuss around them!). My friend heard this (same friend who warned me decades earlier) and she BURST out laughing and said, “OMG I gotta call my dad” (so she could tell on me…. ) Major Face Palm.
A few days later I get a card in the mail from her dad and as I opened it it simply said, “YES FUCKING WAY!”
I died…. Damn if she wasn’t right…
I have never professed to being the perfect parent, but I have never apologized either. My kids know who we are and what to expect from us and there is no pretense over here.
But recently, my daughter was talking to a friend who is UBER proper and doesn’t cuss. He told my daughter that when he raises his kids, he won’t be cussing. Clearly our way of life isn’t for him and that’s totally fine. Like I said, I’m not proud, it’s just who I am.
BUT…what happened after that was what was so cool. My daughter came home and told me about the conversation and she said, “I have no problem with the way you have raised us and to be honest, I like it. You taught us to be accepting human beings and not to judge (although lets face it, we can all be judgy at times).
She went on to tell me how she loves me and that she is really glad for who we are as parents and she feels lucky.
She had to use a shovel to pull me off the floor as I wasn’t expecting this… But it made me realize how much she sees now and she is realizing more of who she is and what her values are, which is really cool.
We all have different parenting styles and we should stand strong in our convictions as we raise our kids!
I won’t lie, as I look back there are quite a few things I would have done differently, but we don’t get a second shot at the first try. You just do the best you can with what you have and let the chips fall where they may!!
My daughter made me feel really proud as a parent this week. She’s actually got my brain spinning a bit. But at the end of the day, when it comes to your kids, to feel loved and appreciated is a job well done….
and with that…I will take my bow……