Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.
Before I had children I just knew I was going to be one of those moms that could give the look to her kids and they would immediately fall in line. I have given the look, but instead of falling in line they looked like their spirit was broken. The look on their faces was hurting me. I promised to be one of those parents that spanked their kids…especially if they were embarrassing me in public. After-all, I was spanked and I turned out fine….I think. I thought homeschoolers were weird and I swore that I would never be one of those weird unsocialized homeschoolers. I would never use cloth diapers. Breastfeeding in public? Not me! That should be done in private and I would always be discreet. My kids would never eat junk food and they most certainly wouldn’t talk back to me. I was going to be a strict but loving mother.
All of that is hilarious! I used cloth diapers with my 2nd and in the beginning with my 3rd. I did start out spanking my first but quickly realized that was my lazy way of parenting. I don’t think homeschoolers are weird and unsocialized anymore…if anything I get it and I love it! I make a point to be gentle and mindful with my kids. It has become harder for me as they grow older because I still expect too much of them at times. Being discreet while nursing in public? Sometimes.
I’ve been at this mothering thing for a little over 8yrs now and I like the mother I am now way more than the mother I intended to be. I have my moments, don’t we all? The mother I first intended to be thought children should be seen and not heard. I believed that children were manipulative and should be punished for the bad behavior accordingly. Now I believe that children are inherently good, they are curious, they are so innocent, and even when they get to the age where they really grasp manipulation – it’s not usually done to be hurtful. I realize that children are learning about this world and how to navigate it as best they can. My children are 8,6,3 and each year I see them getting older, but I also realize how young they really are! I’m 33 and still trying to figure out life.
I used to believe that if you told your children how to act they would do it. Now I understand that they model the behavior they see day after day. That’s a lot of pressure! My kids see me happy, sad, angry, yelling, apologizing. I’m still learning how to manage my emotions so I can help them learn to manage theirs. I think the reason my kids push my buttons so much is because I still have a lot of unresolved issues regarding my childhood. It wasn’t terrible, it was actually pretty good. But you know how you catch a scent of something and you recall a childhood memory? That’s how it is with parenting. The kids say or do something and it recalls a childhood memory. Instead of responding with love, there are times I respond the way I wished I had been able to as a child. I don’t always get it right, but I think being aware and knowing to change the next interaction is key.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
- Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
- Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
- A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
- I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
- The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
- I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
- They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
- Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
- Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
- A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
- Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
- The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
- Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
- How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
- How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
- My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
- Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
- Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
- 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
- 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
- Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
- The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
- Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
- The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
- What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
- Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
- Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
- I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.
- How I Ended Up Like My Tiger Mom With Peaceful Parenting — Theek at The Laotian Commotion somehow ended up like her Tiger Mom, even though she purposely tried for the complete opposite as a peaceful parent.