parenting lessons learned
I've wanted to post this for awhile now but never knew how to say it in a loving way...here's my attempt.
In my opinion, it takes a village to raise a child. I'll never forget when we started potty training Asher and I had posted on facebook that he was in big boy undies and doing a great job going potty. That weekend a dear friend walked right past me and up to Asher at Church, knelt down to his level and excitedly praised and encouraged his efforts and successes on the potty. As I witnessed this, tears came to my eyes. For the first time, I witnessed how proud a child can be when they are praised by someone other than their parents. It will be a memory I will always cherish. On the same token, I have witnessed the look in my son's eyes when someone is looking at him in loathing or disappointment when he is doing something they think is inappropriate. And unfortunately, most of the time it's his valiant attempt to get someones attention when they're ignoring him.
Parenting has been the hardest job I have ever embarked on. It is of course the most rewarding as well and I love my children fully and all encompassing, but it's hard. Some days, it's really, really hard. And in those hard times, this is what I've learned. There are people who unconditionally love and support me and for that, I'm am whole heartily thankful. And there are others who aren't so supportive. They are the "I can't believe your child is doing this or that.", "You must be blind to not see your child is delayed.", "I only had to tell my child one time not to do something and he/she never did it again." I just don't understand. these people. Parenting is not an avenue to make someone feel like a failure, but rather a platform to bring people together. It's not a competition or a race or a way to see who's child is better. Every child develops and acts in their own time frame and ways. Each child is individual. And most parents are only making the best decisions they can for their family. They are not telling you that your way is wrong, at least most aren't!, they are not bad parents if they don't do everything you did or think they should do nor are they blind at how their child is developing. To these people, I can only say one thing. I'm sorry. I'm sorry you feel you have to put others down to build yourself up. We should be in community and not at odds.
So, why am I sorry? Because I know what true friends are. I know how true friends treat one another, and I know how you can be 100% honest with them and they'll come back with only loving, constructive opinions and unconditional support. They don't put you down. They don't send anonymous letters bashing you and your family. They are loving and supportive. They listen and not judge and are patient. True friends are community. They're family.
This is what I know about me. I love my children with all that I have. They bring me joy and a love I've never known. They teach me and amaze me every day. In saying that, I fail them nearly every day. I either lose my patience or temper, I yell way to often, I fail in choosing nice words at times, I let them watch too much tv...you name it...at times I fail. But I try my best. I try to explain and be compassionate without being a doormat, I try to encourage them and support them, I teach them kindness and I can honestly say that there has only been 2 nights that Asher went to bed knowing I was mad. And I still feel guilty about it. I teach them discipline and respect and most important I teach them about unconditional love and how to treat and love people.
Why am I saying all of this? Why am I being so open and honest? Because as moms and dads, I we need to be. We need to be supporting one anther. We need to have support groups that we can trust to be open with, to be honest with. We need to help one another and encourage one another and make each other KNOW that we're not alone. We have to stop judging and slandering and making people believe that they're failing....because as parents, we're already pretty good at thinking we're failures.
To my friends, thank you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for letting me, be me and fostering a relationship in which I can be 100% open and honest. At any time, I know I can bare my soul and know that I will not be judged, but only loved. Some of you supported me in a way last night that I can't express my thanks enough. It has been a few hard weeks over here and last night I had a bit of a breakdown. Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for loving me. And thank you for supporting me.