Parenting is such a crapshoot.
The truth is, none of us really know what we’re doing. We’re all just making our best guesses, fumbling, and bumbling our way through it. We read books and studies and articles, but it doesn’t matter. For every article that quotes scientists claiming that THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO RAISE CHILDREN, you’ll find three articles with three more scientists saying THAT’S SO TOTALLY WRONG.
The worst of all, is that there’s no real way of knowing you’ve done even a decently good job of it until it’s over. You know, when your kids are something like 25. Maybe 45. There are no do-overs. No just kiddings. No “let’s try this agains”. We just do the best we can with what we know. And we adjust. Oh for all that is Good and Holy, we adjust every single day. Minute by minute on the really hard days.
Now, all of that being said, my husband and I do parent in a certain way (obviously). And frankly, we wouldn’t do it in this way if we didn’t think it was the best way. No one sets out to do something thinking “I think this method is subpar, so let’s try this one!” So yes, I do believe that the way we parent is a good one. The best one. For us. It may not be the best way for you. And really, let’s face it…the jury is still out on “best”.
But lately, I’ve been encouraged by a few articles I’ve read that have me shaking my head in furious agreement. There was this one asking if American parents have it all backwards and this one about how a school ditched playground rules and found it actually promoted kindness, and a third that was great too but I can’t remember enough of the details to find it on Google.
But here’s what you’ll find around here:
I believe that rinsed out pickle jars make for perfect playthings.
I believe that if the glass breaks, you’ll learn to be more careful with it next time.
I believe that mud and berries and pebbles are the perfect ingredients for made up science projects, and that baking soda and vinegar will teach you more about chemistry and physics than you realize.
I believe that bare feet are perfectly acceptable, even if it means getting dirt between tiny toes.
I believe that Elmer’s glue, plastic bottles, sandwich bags, one of mom’s spoons, and dad’s bottle caps are better than anything Steve Jobs invented.
I believe that creativity should always be encouraged. Even if it’s messy.
Especially if it’s messy.
I believe that just how dirty your jeans are is directly proportionate to how much fun you are having. Bonus points for holes.
I believe that the only way to know that dirt is yucky, is to taste it.
I believe that helmets are non-negotiable (even if you don’t realize you still have it on and wear it to dinner. Regularly.)
I believe that Little Helpers may get in the way, but they are the best teachers of patience and kindness.
I believe that the recommended age on the box is a good suggestion, but often underestimates your kids.
I believe that good manners are imperative and using Mr. and Miss with adults is a requirement…even if you’re still in jammies, wearing a helmet, and holding a praying mantis. Always Mr. and always please and thank you.
I do not believe that children should be seen and not heard.
I believe that princess dresses make grocery shopping more fun.
I believe that helping mommy isn’t very helpful but worth it.
And really darn cute.
I believe that you always, always lick the bowl.
I believe in Supervising, but not in Hovering.
I believe it is important to encourage your siblings and share in their joy.
I believe that generosity is taught.
I believe that busting a move on top of the table makes you a way better dancer.
And that music sounds best in the kitchen.
I believe that we are a team and 4 isn’t too young to join.
I believe that chores are as much your job as they are mine, and 1st graders are plenty big enough to pack their own lunches.
I believe there is no such thing as too many books.
I believe that scrapes, and cuts, and bruises are as important as arithmetic and phonics. Also, that mama kisses and patterned band aids make it all better.
I believe in imperfection. I believe in love. I believe in Grace.
Check in with me again in 20 years. I’ll let you know if I got it all wrong and you can serve me up a big, fat, juicy crow.