Parenting Rules?


I’m not the mom I thought I’d be. I’ve determined it’s impossible to really understand parenting until you’re parenting. I think the hardest concept to comprehend is that you’re starting from literal nothingness. You can see a kid at a store and have thoughts how you’d improve that child’s behavior in the moment but it’s a matter of all the little moments and actions that brought you to that point.

My pediatrician suggested we read 1-2-3 Magic for parenting tips. We immediately checked it out and read it on vacation and I was honestly appalled. While reading the book I felt like it made parenting to feel like an overwhelming burden. Parenting is not easy but I love Lucas and every minute with him – even when he’s screaming, kicking and not doing what I want.

The premise of the philosophy is Don’t Talk, Don’t Show Emotion while implementing order and that just doesn’t sit right with me. Perhaps sterile parenting is effective to get your kids to do what you want but it’s not the kind of person I want to be and it’s not the kind of message I want to send to Lucas.

He’s little, he’s learning and life is hard. It’s only going to get harder and be more work so I’m okay with letting him be wild while he can be. We don’t have a routine around here. None of us do. It’s a glorious concept and I’ve made attempts but the reality is that we have the luxury of flexibility these days. I have the benefit of being able to take it slow in the morning and have time to go to bed with him at night and I’m not going to let myself feel bad about it because it won’t last forever. One day he won’t need me, I won’t have the time or our obligations will force us out the door. We have freedom now and I want to embrace that.

The whole parenting spiral started because I take to heart the fact that he’s a new human. From literal nothingness, to a dark, padded, warm, solitary interior, to a loud, invasive, cold world – new humans suffer a lot in a short time. When Lucas was first born I never let him cry. Whenever he would cry I would hold him, tell him I loved him and that everything would be okay (if I wasn’t around, I gave strict instructions to whoever was to do the same). Now I’ll let him have a fit if he needs to but if he’s clearly upset about something I’ll still hold him while he has it out. Lucas is very much like me and I know that when I feel overwhelmed (especially when I was his age) all I want is for someone to hold me – not ignore me or yell at me to stop. I have a lot of patience for tears.

Many people call us hippy parents and think we give Lucas too much freedom but Lucas is fun, engaging and adventurous and I don’t want to hinder his independent spirit. If he maintains his firm ideals, staunch debate skills and confidence I know he’ll be a successful adult and I fear that if we pressure him to be submissive he’ll suffer in the real world. We let Lucas explore for himself and try new things but we always press the need to be safe (thankfully he’s naturally cautious) and to make good choices. We’re not naive enough to think he can reason like an adult but I do believe people meet the bars you set for them so when I start to count to three he usually does, or stops doing, what is necessary. He also knows the difference about how to behave at home verses a home we’re visiting.

So there it is. Two and a half years in, my parenting insights. I know people think we’re nuts and I’m okay with it. We’ve got the cutest roommate there is and he gives good cuddles.


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