Parenting & Swingsets
:: Parenting & Swingsets ::
Why does it feel like some days I am like a salmon swimming upstream in the river of parenting? That was my facebook status the other week after a long discussion with my eldest daughter as to why we a lot of the time do things a bit differently in our home as compared to others. She got off the bus and was hot and tired from a long day. She wanted to know why we couldn't have friends over to play in the sprinklers. I gently explained that it was a school night and that she had sports practice. A frown formed across her face. Summer would be here soon and then we would have plenty of time for friends. She agreed= parent win.
Then we somehow got on the topic of cell phones. She proclaimed that every one has a phone but her. I know for a fact that every one in her class does not have a phone. I explained that phones were great tools to communicate with other people but phones also link us to the internet. The internet is a great place where you can find very useful information but it is also a dangerous place. The last wild west of America. This place where kids can easily get themselves into situations that could be tricky or just see things that they shouldn't at their age. She seemed to understand my answer and bounced off into the house in search of a snack. I was left standing on the front porch feeling a bit deflated. I know we are different than a lot of families in many respects. I know that there are a lot of families out there who are lot like mine. But parenting can be a lonely island at times. As a I get older and hopefully wiser each year, I begin to care less and less if what I am doing is "trendy" in parenting. I know my kids. I know the struggles, joys, and fears. I know what is good for them. My husband and I have a set of standards and morals we live by. They rarely match what is happening in the wider world. I am okay with that. I know it is hard for my children to see the bigger picture because they are still young. Upon entering the kitchen that was strewn with book bags, snacks, lunch boxes, and shoes I asked my daughter if she understood that we just do things differently in our home. She looked at me and said yes. She chewed thoughtfully on a cracker for a moment then said, "Like you always say Mama, be a Fruit Loop in a bowl full of Cheerios." I laughed and I quietly added, "thanks for inflating my spirit." Sometimes it is okay to swim upstream and it is okay to be a Fruit Loop.
Parenting can also be a test of patience. We have a new swing-set. In fact, it is the first swing-set we have ever had. Blame it on the military moves. It was a labor of love. It was a three week labor of love by my husband. He is a good man because that box and all those pieces would have sent me over the edge. The kids love it. I love it. But it is teaching us an important lesson these days. The lesson of patience. I will freely admit that it is a lesson that we are very slowly learning. There are two swings and I have three children. Let's do the math. 2 swings + 3 children = one child is not swinging. That is not good math in my mind. I decided on a rotation that they do so that everyone gets equal time. It is a swing-set mediation of sorts. Everyone gets a turn and everyone is happy. A good lesson for life. We cannot have everything at once. We have to be patient and wait for good things. It is a work in progress but I can happily report that I only had to wave wildly in the air out the kitchen window while shouting "please take turns and be patient!" once this week. I look down at the Blessed Mother statue on my sill. "Yeah, I know I could use work in the patience department as well" I tell her. She gets it, she is a mom.
Parenting is hard. No doubt about it. Be kind to yourself because we are all doing the best we can.
Also, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Especially my mother. She taught so much and I am the woman I am today because of her patience, understanding, and unending love.