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Just a Reminder

July 12, 2010
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Sometimes I need a reminder that parenting is not a science, with “right” answers and “wrong” ways of doing things. Yes, there are decisions some parents make that are certainly wrong. Anyone who abuses or mistreats children in anyway is wrong. But we all, as parents, make decisions everyday that we believe are the best ones for our kids, our families, ourselves. And we need to remind ourselves that we’re doing what is right for us, and let up on the second guessing. Maybe I’m alone here, but I spend a lot of time in my own head wondering if the way we’re living and working, our disciplinary decisions… actually every little move we make with our kids, is the best one possible.

So last week I read a couple of articles that reminded me that everyone has their own way of doing things, of raising kids, of building their families. And none of them are wrong. So it stands to reason that I’m not wrong either, that we’re doing what works, or what we believe will work. The first is actually interesting to me because of the reaction it got from readers. I don’t give a damn if these people have kids, don’t have kids, freeze their eggs, throw their eggs away, whatever. I do think that they came off as dismissive and unfeeling towards those with fertility issues, but in the end it’s their decision. Why do other people get so upset about their decision?

The second caught my attention, not because of the findings that parents are “less happy.” I’ve heard some of this data before. But what I thought as I was reading it is, “we’re unhappy because we’re holding ourselves up to some impossible standard.” That’s why older generations didn’t feel this way, they didn’t analyze every little thing and overschedule their kids to the point of adolescent anxiety attacks. Did they? I think parents say they’re not happy, because of the thoughts I described above. We’re always wondering if we’re doing a good enough job, if our kids are the best, if they’re better than the kids next door.

I’m not convinced that there’s some reward at the end of this “parenting” job, that warrants that sort of pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I think raising wonderful, compassionate, productive human beings is reward for the hard parts. But I don’t think that anyone hands parents a trophy when kids turn 18, that we would trade for self-induced frustration, stress and unhappiness. So a reminder to myself, “Relax. Have fun. We’re doing the absolute best we can and it IS in fact good enough.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. jec permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:06 pm

    You’re right. Great post. I think that as highly educated parents put off having kids until later and have fewer of them, the anxiety mounts. But having kids young has down sides too.

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