Are We Taking Parenting Too Seriously?
So I had another post go live on Huffington Post Parents last week. It was a fun life lesson list for Little D and me that talked about everything from not smoking to the importance of math to snacking.
Clearly not thesis material.
I had a lot of great, positive feedback on the piece, which is always nice, but as with anything on the internet, it came with its fair share of abuse, too. Not my first time going down this road, so I have learned how to navigate it and not take the comments to heart (no, I still don’t think my daughter will really ever need the quadratic equation in life and no, that doesn’t mean she is destined for a life of shallow, underwhelming achievements, but I digress…) but it got me thinking:
Are we taking this parenting thing too seriously?
I mean, of course I take my core responsibilities as a parent seriously. I am beyond devoted to loving and nurturing and caring for and educating and watching over my two children 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365…you get the point.
I am on top of every developmental milestone. I am dishing out vitamins each and every morning. I am practicing p’s and q’s. I am handing out praise and jolts of confidence. I am sticking to schedules and checking in with teachers and shopping organic when I can and being paranoid about abduction and school shootings and predators like all the time and driving in the slow lane (when they are in the backseat, that is).
But I am also a big fan of sneaking some chocolate into Little D’s lunch box once in a while. In letting them stay up late, just because. In telling them that I hate zucchini, too. In playing hooky from school once in a blue moon to go to Legoland. In deferring to my husband when questions about the solar system and its properties come up. In not jumping on them for every single missed “thank you” (just most of them). In not always making the right decision and letting them see that.
I always tell my kids that our number one job is “to keep them healthy, safe and happy.” Somehow it deflects most arguments and tantrums. I am doing this or saying this or enforcing this to keep you healthy, safe and/or happy. And I take that job very seriously. But sometimes, as with any responsibility, I think you have to loosen up a bit to get a tighter rein. I think you have to let go to get back. I think you have to realize that as important as it is to ensure your daughter learns about math or science or the solar system, it can be equally as important that she learns the basics about eye brow grooming and schoolyard crushes and how to land an internship.
My goal is to raise children who are confident and smart and empathetic and happy and witty and kind…and yes, sometimes a little silly.
And that doesn’t make me (or them) shallow.
It doesn’t make us frivolous.
It doesn’t mean we take our responsibilities as parents and caretakers with a grain of salt…
We just happen to like a little sugar and spice with it, too.
*photo above via here*