Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Being a parent is hard enough these days and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. "Don't say no to your kids....it will ruin their self esteem" or "Don't let them eat gluten, it's like poisoning them" or my favorite one, "we're not keeping score because we want them all to feel like winners!". That last one is a hard pill to swallow when you have parents who literally compete over everything (in the healthiest of ways). I really like to think of myself as an 80's mom with a sprinkle of modern day parenting. There are thousands of books on this complex subject, and most of the time you can narrow it down to a certain subject that you may be looking into so you don't lose your damn mind. Terrible Two's, Anxiety, Diets- you name it and you can probably walk into a book store to find it. We end up reading a few chapters, feel like an expert on the subject and then let it collect dust on your bookshelf until you encounter the same problem again.
Wait, is that just me?
Trying to find a blended family book on how the fuck to navigate through your awkward role, boundaries, co-parenting, alienation, court dates, confused children all while running your own business, becoming a teacher (thank you COVID-19), maintaining your relationship with your spouse, eating healthy, exercise and drinking plenty of water...who has the time and energy for all of this shit? Oh ya, and I also took up gardening as a hobby, thinking I would be bored during this pandemic- what a fucking commitment and just what I needed, more things to take care of. Luckily, the competitive psychopath in me has kept the plants alive and even producing some veggies for us. Was it always this hard or have we just piled way too much on to our plate because that is what society expects of us now?
In the past couple of years I have been having a hard time wrapping my head around what is expected of us and our children. Is it too much, and is this the reason our kids feel more stress and anxiety then we did when we were kids? For example- sports. In our family we have always encouraged our kids to participate in 1 team sport (whatever that may be is up to them). Not only are the registration fees outrageous, but you are required to devote "X" amount of hours of volunteering, and a team fee that is about half of what registration costs. In all of that we are usually required 2-3 away tournaments ($$), dry land training at a gym and a few handfuls of social gatherings. This usually ends up leaving us rushing from school to practice, with an unhealthy supper/snacks and then rushing home to make sure we use the last of our energy of trying to understand math homework before showering and going to bed past their bedtime. Usually about mid season I hear from other parents who are talking about what camps they will be signing the child up for next and how they need to improve on what skills, and I just can't help but think, aren't you guys tired? Aren't your kids tired? At what point do you guys get a break?
Maybe there is a difference between families who need that momentum to go, go, go andthe families that want to put time aside to have a little more of a break
As much as I know they love the sport and how much they are getting out of it, I can't help but feel like it's too much for such a young age, so why do we do this? I'm torn between the fact that a little discipline and hard work is good for them and teaches work ethic and teamwork and maybe we need to just let them be kids and play before they grow up and are completely over run by schedules, demands and work. Like I said, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing....
The way I see it, everything is all about moderation. We can give them the hard work and give them the rest of the time to do what they really love. Whether that's an art class, BMX, horseback riding or lego building. Seriously, whatever floats their boat, let them do it, let them be creative let them try whatever feeds their soul and support them in whatever that may be. I like to think that exploring the world and everything it has to offer is part of what makes it worth living. That almost sounded wise there for a second, but that is just the small amount of what I have learned in my short time on this earth and what I find works and makes me happy as a parent to my children.
If that all isn't overwhelming enough, then comes the more intricate scenarios surrounded by being a step parent on top of all of that. If you're anything like me, and weren't exactly raised with knowing what tools you need to cope with these situations, you like awake in bed at night and wondered if you handled these situations the right way. Did you over step? Did you under step? Did you say too much? I honestly don't what the answers are, but I have been learning to talk and ask questions to my bonus child to see how she feels about certain situations and just really try to think about her best interest and how I might feel if I was put in her situation.
Please don't let society or anyone for that matter, dictate how you parent and how you live your life with your family. Do what works for you and makes you and your family happy. There is no REAL guide book so just do what feels right to take care of your mind, body and soul.
Nother Mother Podcast