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It isn’t easy being a perfect parent….no wait, it’s IMPOSSIBLE!

October 6, 2009

Ever have one of those days when you get an epiphany and you suddenly see things so much clearer? Well, there never was any rain (since it doesn’t ever rain here) but “I can see clearly now”…

It isn’t that I ever thought I was a perfect parent. No way. And it isn’t that I ever thought I would be a perfect parent or could ever aspire to be one. In fact, I’m not sure I ever really thought about it. But today I see, there is no perfect parent. In fact, we all pretty much suck at it in one way or another. There are different ways that each of us deal with this fact, too. Some of us talk on the phone to parents or friends to tell them the horrible or stupid things that the parents next door do and, since we don’t do those things, ultimately feel better and more confident about our parenting skills once the receiver is back in it’s cradle. Admit it, you’ve done it. And even if it wasn’t on purpose, you still have to admit that you do feel better, more confident, more apt after that phone call then you are sure the neighbor is. The other way is that we brag about the stupid things we do as parents on our blogs in order to give another mom or dad out there a laugh and nod. They leave the blog confident that they aren’t the worst parent out there, that someone else also thought it was a good idea to show junior how his bedroom window has easy access to the roof and we sigh in contentment that our blog stats are going up. Sweet. Blog stats. All of a sudden they are something people are so concerned about. How strange the world has become. How far it has come in so few generations…..

No matter who you are (and I’m not judging as I am both of those people and so probably deserve to be in the hallmark of bad parents who neglect their children in order to read their favorite blogs, find new blogs are find ways to make their blog stats hit three digits….) I am here to remind you that you are NOT a perfect parents. In fact, you probably aren’t even as great as you think you are. But it isn’t your fault. It isn’t any of our faults. I mean, did any of us ever have any training? (No, babysitting those brats across the street when you were 15 doesn’t count as training). No! No one ever gave us a class and look where we get our advice from: our parents (aren’t they the ones we swore we wouldn’t never be like? Isn’t following their advice making us become like them….?), our friends, our neighbors, our other family and blog forums. What? Forums? (Oh, yes. My favorite. Some moms out there are freakin’ GOOD with the discipline ideas. It’s also good for pointing a finger and feeling better about yourself or your kids. Just skip the ones that start with a kid’s name and smiley face. If you want to feel better, always look for the frowns or little smiley heads with smoke coming out of them. Those will make you feel much better.)

But what brings on this rant? Because my epiphany was about parenting and the lack of it on a playground. Then it extended into why we can’t be perfect. Here it is: kids are naturally brats. They are. Now some have good qualities (Okay, most have good qualities. FINE, all have at least 1 good quality. Or at least their mother things so.) But really, after the cute first few months, you start seeing the monster they would be if you weren’t in their lives to tame it. Look at a toddler. Look at Queenie. She is a beautiful, smart, gentle toddler. But if I allowed her to grow into the woman her nature wants her to grow into she would be an obnoxiously loud, OCD pattern maker who thinks people should feed her, she should be allowed to throw food to get attention, that all things are learned by watching television and whining is the perfect way to get something. You got it: she would be a monster.

So Principe’s and my job is to tame that monster inside her and teach her how to be a decent human being. How to be gracious, sharing, understanding. To teach her to think of others, to know right from wrong, to understand that GOD is watching (especially when mommy and daddy can’t) that it isn’t funny to make other’s cry and that not everyone else on earth is alive in order to entertain her.

That job isn’t easy. In fact, it’s impossible. Absolutely impossible to do without screwing up somewhere. But that is why we are working on teaching forgiveness and tolerance before and above all else. So that when the time comes in which Queenie understands just how imperfect her parents were, she will already have ingrained in her that she still must forgive then and tolerate them until they go to the Big Guy in the sky. I’m pretty sure that’s all I can do. Cause the rest is just me. And that is a bit scary.

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