I spent some time on Sunday thinking about all it means to be a parent, how many opportunities we have to teach our kids, and how many opportunities we have, ourselves, to learn from each other. I haven’t read a lot of child rearing books, but instead rely on my “village” and make a lot of observations.
We mothers can be an insecure bunch. Mostly we learn by trial and error, watching others, and what will cause the least amount of screaming, mess, expense, injury, or sleep deprivation. For any or all involved. We do a lot of wingin’ it, and always wonder if we could have done it better. We don’t get a lot of validation on our day-to-day decisions, triumphs (however small), and the fact that we just made it through another day without contact with persons of medical or legal authority.
I’ve realized that I am grateful to a whole lot of people in helping me to raise my children and be a better mother.
To my Village:
Thank you – you’ve been my confidant and therapist. You’ve listened to me complain and brag and offered up advice and observations that I always try to take seriously.
Thank you for inviting my children into your home. You’ve given them an opportunity to see that I’m not the only mom who tries to make them pick up after themselves, eat their vegetables, and be kind to siblings (always with varying degrees of success). They’ve had opportunities to see things and do things that we haven’t done because you included them with your family. I am grateful and hope that I can return the favor.
You have been a great example of parenthood. I admire your children and respect all you have done to help them on their way. Your kids have been great role models and mentors for mine, as you are for me.
I appreciate that you help to “co-parent” my kids. Whether you have any of your own or not, I appreciate you taking a role in my children’s life. I’m glad you exert authority, show love, have expectations and give of yourself. My children are richer for having you in their lives.
Thank you for trusting me with your child. It is always a joy to have my children’s friends spend time with us and I hope they feel welcome and comfortable in our home.
You’ve shared your anxieties and challenges with me. I thank you, because this helps me to remember that nobody has the “perfect” household or the “perfect” life. I remember that my life is generally no harder and no easier than anyone else’s. Thank you for trusting me.
Thank you for coaching my child. Your guidance and encouragement and ability to “get” my child have helped them to do their best, every time and balance their desire for achievement with fun and teamwork. It is never easy for a parent to teach or coach their own child, and I am grateful that you are doing such a good job.
You are an awesome teacher for my child. Thank you for figuring out the little ways to keep my kids motivated and learning and loving education. Thank you for involving me in the process and putting up with me!
Thank you for sharing with me, agreeing with me, crying with me and laughing with me over all the little absurdities of LIFE WITH KIDS. It can be crazy sometimes, and I’m glad you think so too!
I am grateful to you all. This job is the hardest, most important thing I’ve ever done in my life and I truly could not have done it without your contribution. THANK YOU!
When she's not chauffeuring over-scheduled children or procrastinating about the housework, Pam can be found scratching her head in her garden, making a giant mess in her kitchen, channeling her inner redneck, or sneaking off for a bubble bath with a fat novel. Her monotonous adventures are chronicled in painful detail here.