You don’t spend most days asking yourself whether or not you’re doing a good job of raising your kids if only because days are hectic with school drop offs and pick ups and homework and lunch making and dinner and bath and bed. By the time the day is over, it’s a blur. I feel like Mark and I are constantly running in and out of the house, like a revolving door, and it’s only when everyone’s in bed that you can sort of exhale…but the day is often not over. There’s a whole lot of working still going on once the sun goes down. Our schedules are anything but typical, but I know a few other families who also have complex schedules and atypical work lives. We all do the best we can with our own unique situations to make our families work.
Once in a while you do find moments to step outside of yourself and look at your kids…I mean really look at them, not as their mom or dad, but look at them as the people they are growing up to be…and you might find yourself wondering, “Are they really mine?”. I didn’t know what kind of parent I thought I’d be before I actually had kids. But I know what kind of parent I’m not and some things have surprised me. I realize that as the girls get older and become individuals with their own opinions and their own lives spent away from us at school, the hardest years of parenting might just be ahead of us.
Some time ago I received an email from a woman who berated me with some harsh words over something that she read here. She didn’t think I was leading a good example for the girls on this one particular issue. I didn’t have to respond because it was a personal choice issue, not a clear right or wrong thing, but I did because I just can’t seem to help myself and we exchanged a few emails that progressively worked towards a nice resolution. But she said something to me that struck me as oddly disturbing. I had joked that I was only human and that I had a free pass to make a few mistakes, but she replied that actually, no…I wasn’t allowed to make this mistake because these “mistakes” set bad examples or teach my kids the “wrong” things. Okaaaaay.
The emails and comments that hurt the most are the ones that criticize my parenting. I surprise myself by how it doesn’t really bother me so much after that short initial sting because I spent most of my childhood worrying about not being liked by everyone. It killed me to know that there was someone out there who didn’t like me, but I seem to have the capability of letting stuff like that roll off my back now. It’s ok. I’m far from perfect and I HAVE made some mistakes and have done things I’m not proud of regarding the girls, but I’m trying my best. Everyday. This is all that I can do. Hopefully in the end when we unleash them out into the world, we’ll all turn out ok, myself included.