I’ve been thinking about the freedom I give my kids to be individual, to be themselves, and to express themselves. On the whole, I think I do this pretty well, but then I started thinking about the things I’m not so great at letting go of. And then of course there’s the other side to the argument; should I be entirely responsible for their actions, good bad and ugly? And actually, how much do I want praise for the things that they do?
The more I think about this, the more I realise that you can’t really give up one without the other. If I don’t want to take the flack for their misdemeanours, then I shouldn’t really expect to take any pride in their achievements, should I? I believe at Wills’ age it’s a bit of a different discussion. It’s more about how I handle his behaviours than the actual things he does. It’s not like I had a conversation with the boy and told him it’s cool to sink his teeth into anyone he feels like. But I also don’t let him do it without making it very clear that it’s not ok.
As for Amelia… I quite like all the praise for the great things she does, I won’t lie! But I just don’t feel like I can take credit for all of it. I’m telling you, some of that good stuff literally came outta left field! And then, of course, there’s the bad stuff… does it make me feel good to be judged personally when she behaves in a less than desirable way? No, not really. But do I think its right that I should be judged? I’m still not really sure.
I think most of us would agree that it took for us to become parents ourselves to fully understand the reasons why we shouldn’t judge every situation we see without knowing the back story. There is ALWAYS a back story! The mum losing her shit in the middle of the supermarket could very well be the same mum crying into her pillow because it’s all too much sometimes and she feels guilty as sin for yelling.
If I were repeatedly being called into nursery to speak about, say, a biting habit (going with a theme here) that Amelia had, I’ll admit I’d start to wonder what I was doing wrong. I would seriously worry that my parenting skills were not up to scratch, so could I really blame others for thinking the same? On the other hand, surely the fact that I would care so much as to spend all my time worrying about it and racking my brains for a solution would mean that I was doing my best and the biting, therefore, actually isn’t something I should be judged for?!
The bottom line for me is; no one (except an unfortunate minority) actually wants their child to bite others. Or hit, or throw tantrums when they can’t have something, or any of the other shit we put up with daily. All of us do our best to discourage these things and try to teach right from wrong. As far as I’m concerned, as long as we’re all doing that, no one deserves to be put down for their child’s behaviour.
As for allowing them to be themselves, embracing their individuality; sometimes it’s just so hard! And sometimes it’s not practical, either! Mostly, I suppose, I’m talking indirectly (directly now, whatever) about the kids clothing. As babies they have no control (or care) over what they wear. As long as it’s comfy, they can move, and they’re warm that’s pretty much all that matters! Then suddenly comes a day when the dreaded words are uttered;
“I’m not wearing that.”
Or, in the case of my 3-year-old;
“I’m not wearing that, or those. I’m not wearing that with that, that is AWFUL!”
There’s a part of me that totally wants to allow Amelia to choose all her own clothes from now on, and there’s a part of me that doesn’t want her to look like a total disaster! That second part often takes over. I mean, seriously, some of her desired concoctions are truly awful! On a serious level, though, as much as I want my kids to look presentable, at what point do I take that step back and accept that she has her own very distinct ideas about what constitutes style?!
If I’m honest, I think it’s just one more thing in another long line of things that I’m more than likely overthinking! In the grand scheme of things, what Amelia wears isn’t really important. As long as they are clean and warm, it’s not the end of the world if she wants to dress like an 80’s pop star. Actually… that’d probably be quite cool!
Are My Kids A Part Of Me?
In a way, yes. But in reality? No, of course they aren’t! They are each very individual human beings that once were attached to me. The way that they behave can, sometimes, be a reflection of me, but doesn’t necessarily reflect on me as a person. This of course applies to both the good and bad things. I’ve lost count of how many times someone has told me that Amelia is basically a small version of me! But they also have very individual personalities, and influences other than me. Should I be judged as a person by their behaviour? Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on the situation. Should I push my questionable sense of style upon them, or be offended when they decide they hate my style? Probably not, but that’s really not going to stop me from trying for as long as I can!
Bottom line – I really need to stop overthinking things! It seems like that’s been a running theme this week, and I’m running the risk falling back into my old stressed.to.the.max ways!
Calling all bloggers! I’m looking to start a stress-free guest post series featuring top tips and tricks from you lovely lot! So if you have any tips, tricks or stressed out stories (or not-so-stressed out stories) you’d like to share, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org