Super Parent or …Me?

I recently had a brush with a Super Parent.

valeria-zoncoll-ZtLASJerPb0-unsplash

Between coordinating math competitions and drawing up homework schedules and suggesting vinyl cutouts of inspirational quotes to stick around the school, the Super Parent (SP) texted me to ask how my overachiever plans were coming along…?

I assured SP that all’s well, then accidentally sent my son to school in his younger brother’s pants.

While I could blame my lack of motivation and involvement on the number of children I’m keeping alive (five), I know I’ve had about the same level of parenting for all of them. They just get things like the wrong pants when I’m recovering from popping out their sibling.

Thing is, I have a different reaction than action compared to SPs.

Problem: Son needs a real volcano for his Science Fair Project? He needs it now? It’s due tomorrow? But it’s bedtime…

Solution: Meh; this will build character. Go to sleep and cobble something together in the morning.

I’ll teach the values of project management, ingenuity, and last-minute b.s.-ing. Frankly, that last one will help him more times than he’ll know.

xavier-mouton-photographie-ry_sD0P1ZL0-unsplash

I’ll admit to some guilt when my laissez-faire approach comes out. What if not having five hours of piano lessons since he was five means he never goes to college? What if he catches pneumonia because I couldn’t leave my hour-away appointment to pick him up because he felt “sniffly?” What if that real volcano impressed little Julie Jenkins, super-intelligent and talented daughter of the SP that texted me, and she therefore agrees to go out with and marry my son when they’re twenty, and my adorable grandchildren (whose upbringing and education will be handled by their SP grandparent) never come to be??

That’s when I reassure myself that, if Julie Jenkins doesn’t love my son for who he is, she shouldn’t marry him. I mean, volcanoes can only take a relationship so far…

That, and I’d rather be a consistent and level-headed parent than a volatile and high-strung one. I’ve seen those go-getter types in school, and they were only happy when they had the good stuff. I don’t want that for my kids if we can avoid it; I want them to be balanced and truly happy.

So, SP, things are going well. My kids are alive, my son’s wearing pants, and my other son just pulled some paper into a mountain and painted it brown.

He says the vinegar and baking soda will be red.

aaron-thomas-BvI2MKKCTZ4-unsplash

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Valeria Zoncoll
Xavier Mouton Photographie
Aaron Thomas

The Best Thing You Can Give Your Child

During one of the few times I engaged in adult conversation, the other moms raised an interesting point: what is the best thing we can give our child?

Most of us opt for food, shelter, clothing, and the occasional treat.

Parenting is a balancing act: Discipline/indulgence, love/standards, chores/free time, healthy foods/treats, and exceptions/bedtime. We all cross the lines one direction or the other; we’re all human. The problem is a repeated crossing, resulting in a spoiled brat or a repressed psycho-maniac destined to employ a therapist in his adult years.

Which brings up my initial point: what is THE best thing we can give our child?

Disappointment.

Now, I’m not advocating anything leading to that therapist-consulting lifestyle. No giving gifts then taking them back, scheduling parties you cancel, or withholding affection. Those ideas are just the worst.

What I am instead referring to is good, old-fashioned, naturally-occurring disappointment. When your daughter’s ice cream drops onto the sidewalk, do not buy her another one. If your son’s friend says he can’t hang out after all, don’t scramble around to find a replacement pal.

Instead, allow them to learn one of life’s most valuable lessons: that it sucks. After that they must learn an even more important lesson: that it sucks but we move on and get on with things.

So, really, the best thing we can give our child is not disappointment. It’s how to deal with disappointment. Like it or not, our little birdies will need to be the adults that run the world one day. If we keep on this trend of cleaning up their tearful trails and cushioning their nests with our own feathers, they’re in for that therapist lifestyle after all.

Teaching recovery from disappointment can feel insurmountable. I know; I struggle with the concept myself. I know the lesson’s a crucial one, however, so I’ve been doing the best I can to refrain from stepping in. I’ve also been seeing one of those therapists for myself.

As I usually say, this is for the children. They’re worth it, for the future.

chinh-le-duc-TV1QYUtTxJ8-unsplash

You can do it, Mom or Dad. I believe in you.

—————

Sunday, August 11: “What to Expect When You Tell People You’re Having a C-Section,” a frank post about where opinionated home-birthers can stick it.

Monday, August 12: Wrote a limerick titled, “A Bedtime Limerick.”

Tuesday, August 13: Shared a funny quip from Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 14: Discussed growing your own veggies in “Food Tip 9.”

Thursday, August 15: “Family Vacations for Kids,” a snippet concerning family vacations for kids.

Friday, August 16: Talked about cool hotels with water slides in, “Hotel for …Fun?.”

Saturday, August 17: Shared another funny Pinterest image.

Sunday, August 18: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:
Joel Overbeck
Chinh Le Duc

©2019 Chelsea Owens