The day every young mother and father fears – the day they turn into their parents. In some cases, one must do all they can do avoid turning into the example set by a parent or parents – Instead, they should use their parents mistakes as a growing experience to know what NOT to do, and better themselves. But those aren’t the cases I’m currently referring to.
Growing up I remember thinking, “I’ll NEVER be like them.” “I’ll NEVER do that when I’m a parent.” “That’s SO unfair!”
I’m now that parent. I am like them. I did do that, and guess what … it was fair!
Growing up I cared more about not turning into the “strict uncool parents” I thought had, and didn’t stop to think – hm, maybe they had a reason as to WHY they were saying and doing these things. After all, whatever it was at the time was a grave injustice and I couldn’t possibly stand for it!
But what were these grave injustices? Let’s think shall we – and suffering from mom AND pregnancy brain as I am (there’s a double whammy), the thinking will take a bit. *Insert Jeopardy theme music* Thinking complete. Let’s list these injustices shall we!
Martina’s List of Injustice
1. I wasn’t allowed to wear what I wanted unless it “looked appropriate”
2. I wasn’t allowed to go on the internet to use chat rooms (yes this was the 90’s)
3. I wasn’t allowed to stay up until all hours of the night/morning and had a bedtime
4. I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies when I was well under 13
5. I wasn’t allowed to drink sodas when I wanted or eat junk food when I wanted – because my mom refused to buy them (except for parties and other special occasions)
These are all VERY serious charges! As a young child – they were the most offensive of charges and ones to be taken seriously. Then I had kids.
1. I didn’t allow my boys to wear whatever they wanted, and made sure that what they chose (yes both boys actually pick their clothes) looked appropriate for where we were going.
2. I sure as heck won’t be allowing them to enter any online chat rooms – my goodness I’d have to be out of my mind! I’ve watched SVU!
3. I don’t, and won’t let them stay up until only Lord know when, because they “want” to, and because it “isn’t fair”. Why? Because I know they’ll be absolutely insufferable the next day!
4. I won’t allow them to watch PG-13 movies before they’re 13 and *wait for extra mean parenting moment* I’ll probably still be picky as to what they watch. Just because they’re 13 doesn’t mean they have a carte blanche to watch whatever they want! And let’s be real – PG-13 movies now, were R when I was a kid. So there’s that…
5. I won’t allow them to drink sodas and eat junk food whenever they want because 1. ew. 2. not healthy 3. mommy doesn’t want to deal with that sugar rush! Sorry kid! Granted that doesn’t mean I don’t give my boys the occasional Cheetos, but you get the point.
Now you’re thinking, “Way to stick to your word Martina! How could you?” The answer is simple, I’m trying to be a GOOD parent!
Now before you go off on a “how dare you judge,” rant, just shut up and listen. Yes, there are many ways to be a good parent and I by no means pretend to know all the answers, and for all I know I’m doing it all wrong. HOWEVER, what I do know is that my parents raised 5 great kids. Through all the “injustices” they faced, they turned out to be productive members of society with good heads on their shoulders, and a solid moral compass to boot.
Did my parents do everything right? Ha! No! (Sorry guys) But they never pretended to. From my viewpoint as a child, I was clearly under the impression that my parents thought they were infallible and could do no wrong. However, the more and more I walk in their shoes the more I see that they too were flawed humans trying to figure it out as they went along, praying – just as I do – that they did the right thing. Does that mean they did the right thing in every scenario? Nope. But who does? I know I don’t. The girl who vowed to do better, she too makes mistakes! SHOCKER!
Most parents hope that their children learn from their mistakes. They surely don’t want us making the same ones they did. Yet – there are certain parenting injustices that occur, not because you are the mean parent. Not because you want to control your child’s life. Not because you are an old lameo that doesn’t remember what it’s like to be young; but because you DO remember what it’s like to be young. And because you LOVE YOUR KIDS! That is what it all comes down to.
That love is powerful my friends. That love turns you into the, “8pm bedtime” parent. That love turns you into the, “you won’t go online unsupervised” parent. That love turns you into the, “you won’t leave this house looking like that parent”. Because you want to do everything in your power to give your kid the world and at the same time protect them from it.
So many people are afraid of “sheltering” their children; and to that I say – good, don’t! But there is a difference between sheltering, guarding, and allowing your child to act like an adult well before they are capable. Sheltering my children is never allowing them to know what the real world is like. Guarding, is teaching them how to safeguard their mind, body, and soul. Guard your children don’t shelter them. Love them with all your heart, but be careful, because if you do, you might end up turning into your parents.