Yesterday with my mom went much better on the blog than it did in real life! I'm not dwelling on it though. I'll do better next time. With alot more prayer. And compassion. Today, I am going to marvel a bit at some of my huge parenting failures-or so I thought-that ended up being good things!! They say hindsight is 20-20, it usually is. The things we beat ourselves up over generally end up being ok. God is very faithful to fill in our gaps!
Top 10 Parenting Failures
(That ended up being pretty good!)
- Not being involved in a sport. We have done a few things here and there but we never officially adopted a sport for each child. We received lots of advice about how important it was to the formation of character, ability to work together, etc AND how it must start YOUNG! Erik was a major football guy so he was eager for it. However, he always ended up working during games(Sat.) and it was hard to make it to practices after he worked late and then we ate supper. We have tried two different sports and it just never really worked out. And my kids don't seem to be scarred in any way, our life is ours, and someday we will all learn golf or tennis together-sports that you can always play.
- Breakfast. For 70% of my life, I have not eaten breakfast. I wake up grouchy not hungry. My kids though are like their dad was as a kid-they wake up starving (although being married to me has kind of changed him a bit). When they were little, I was on the ball-making them a healthy breakfast or at least getting them the healthiest breakfast quick foods (seldom pop-tarts-more like yogurt and fruit or cereal). The last 3-4 years though-I completely stink at breakfast. I only average making any sort of breakfast a couple times a week. This has inspired my children to cook for themselves. This is a major positive!!
- Exercising. I enjoy what exercise does for me-but not the actual act. I envisioned doing wonderful exercise routines with my kids every morning when we started homeschooling. That never actually panned out. I even have a yoga for wimps book that was purchased at a yard sale with REALLY GOOD intentions. My kids, though, get all kinds of exercise. They love to skate, ride bikes, swim. They are all pretty coordinated (all Dad) and enjoy being very active and as a family we are pretty active-I would grade us about an 88. We like movies, but we spend alot of time outdoors year round. So not having a "plan" has probably helped more than hindered.
- Reading. I've always lamented the fact that I do not have a wonderful read-aloud voice. Even as I read aloud, I often skip or change words because I am a speed reader. I am anxious to finish a book so that makes me a less than ideal out loud reader. This did not keep me from reading to my kids-I always have. But not since Lilly was about 5. I stopped. Was this detrimental to their reading??? NOOO. I beat myself up about it but then I noticed how much they love audio books and so do I. (Those people are awesome readers!) Plus, they all three love to read-even Erika, my most reluctant reader still love checking them out and sort of reading them. I did not fail like I worried.
- Sleepovers. I am not a fan of sleepovers-especially slumber parties. There are very few I have allowed-I can count them on two hands for all three girls and still have fingers left! Once upon a time as I listened to all of the girl's friend's moms talk about all the sleepovers their kids went on that I really thought I was doing my kiddos a dis-service. I thought they might be overprotected and scarred for life. They weren't. In this day and age I have only become more and more convinced that sleepovers should be very few and far between and with people I know VERY well. (I will however allow most of those kids to spend the night here. I trust me to take good care of them.)
- Pets. They are so nasty and cause hair and who knows what else to funk up the house. As a former student of microbiology, I KNOW all the fun stuff involved with animals. I used to really beat myself up over the state of our house due to animals. Then I meet kids who have never had a pet or bonded in any way ever with any animal and I am thankful my kids love all animals. Even ugly ones. REALLY ugly ones. I am glad we have always had pets and animal messes are just a normal part of life. Laundry left folded on the couch will become an amusement park for kitties-put your clothes away. Put food away or it will be found. A fine price to pay for kids that love one of God's perfect creations.
- Housecleaning. I consider myself to be a dismal failure in most aspects of housekeeping. The funny thing is, as I get older, I am improving. Guess who is learning those lessons and improvements right along with me? We are all learning to be more structured, organized and to put away our things. My lack of domestication has just made us all students at the same time and we are all reaping the rewards of baby steps.
- Messes. I have been a fan of glitter and glue since...forever. I always found it delightful when my kids got playdough for a gift. We love playdough. We love crafts, glitter and beads. (I don't love feathers of any type though!!) We have been cutting, gluing and pasting-basically messing for as long as the kids have been able to hold scissors. We like to make big messes and for the most part, we clean up when we are done. I always saw this as a goofy thing to do. It wasn't. We have fun making messes together. I even try to be happy when they make messes without me-messes are total brain food.
- Frugality. People used to make fun of me for washing out plastic baggies and thrift/yard sale/consignment shopping. (DISCLAIMER: I do not wash out baggies anymore. Once the bottle dryer wasn't needed, bag washing ceased.) Now being frugal/green is all the rage and everybody is doing it. I had more than one parent chastise me for not buying more new stuff for my children and fearing they might feel "less than" in their hand-me-downs. Not at all. They love them. They like getting new things, don't get me wrong. However, they know the value of a buck and they know that $50 at goodwill gets you a wardrobe and $50 at the mall gets you a pair of jeans-IF there is a sale.
- Frequent Toy Decluttering. When all the kids were younger, I would constantly evaluate: MESS>ENJOYMENT or ENJOYMENT>MESS? If the mess was greater, the toy went into a sale or was given away. I did not care who it was from or how much it cost. If it took up alot of space and was never played with-it was toast. However, the things that were dearly loved stuck around a long long time. We still have most of our barbies and those dangerous polly pockets. We only recently parted with our legos. We still have playdough accessories that have been around forever. I would see kids at church holding onto a particular toy and loving it and wonder if my kids would somehow develop some detachment disorder because their toys came and went so quickly at times. So far, so good. Sometimes they even surprise me by giving away things that I thought were their favorites. They know stuff is just stuff-so it was a good thing.
So there you have it. An exhaustive list of only a handful of guilt trips I have taken. I hope in 10 years when smart mouths and door slamming have passed, I will have a whole different list of things I worried over needlessly.