Okay, let’s be honest

I’ve gotta be doing some things right. Right?

Before I had Monkey, I didn’t give a lot of thought to how other people parented their children, other than to form thoughts like, “Oh what a great idea” or, of course, “I will NEVER do that” *cough, cough, If I’d only known…*

When Monkey was born I very quickly realized that I didn’t know a thing about being a Mommy. I trusted my intuition sometimes, asked for advice from fellow moms, and did a lot of reading. I always felt like I was just treading water, smiling on the surface but kicking like hell under the water just to stay afloat. I assumed that once Monkey reached the age of “x” I would feel confident in my parenting.

 

Monkey will be three years old in a little over three months. I don’t know how we got here already but alas, here we are. And almost three years into the parenting game, Hubby and I agree that we still don’t know what the heck we’re doing for at least 75% of the time. I remember a moment about 6 months ago when, for the first time, Monkey talked back to us. We just sort of stood there, slack-jawed and eyes bugging out at each other, as if to say, “Well, what do we do now?”. As you all know, we continue to struggle with Monkey’s sleep. We often find ourselves in a new difficult sleep phase asking ourselves, “How do we handle this one?”. Typically we just make something up on the spot that feels right and hope it works.

Most of the time it does not.

There are some nights where we change our minds about 5 different times on what makes sense, what “should work”, what seems right.

It took me quite a while to realize this: I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time as a parent. What makes me feel alright about this was the realization that no one else does either!

This was a massive, game changing thought for me. Because when you look out at the pool, all you see is smiling, floating parents. It’s only when you get your goggles on and go down and swim beneath the surface that you see all that frantic kicking.

So if this is a truth, the fact that we are all basically taking it one day at a time, doing our best not to screw up our children, then why do we all continue to feel so much pressure to do things a certain way or like we are alone on our parenting “adventure”? It’s easy to say that Pinterest puts too much pressure on us or that our friend So-and-so really IS the world’s best mom. But as much as there certainly are images of June Cleaver moms out there, there are an equal if not great number of pins and blogs about parents who are struggling just as we are. I feel that we all need to be more forthright about our struggles. There is strength in numbers, and even just knowing we are not alone, that most of us face these difficult decisions daily, even hourly, even more (!) sometimes, assures us that we are all just doing our very best. My best today might not be the same as my best tomorrow. But I have to give myself permission to just do what works for our little, lovely family.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt myself alllll the time. There are many things that I know we do really right. Monkey has excellent manners, he is typically very well behaved, he can talk as well as most 5 year olds, and he is kind, loving, funny, and smart. I know we do a lot right. But there still remains a lot of ways we parent that I don’t know if they are right or wrong I just know they work right now.

So, in the spirit of honesty, here are some ways that we roll around here. You may agree with some, disagree with others, and to be truthful, I’m not looking for your opinion. I am simply confessing some things that we struggle with so that maybe you will feel alright with your parenting decisions.

– We let Monkey watch TV while he eats breakfast because he eats more that way and we can get ready for the day while he does so. It also means the couch gets really dirty sometimes.

– We sleep with Monkey *every*single*night. He goes to bed on his own and then wakes some time around midnight. One of us just slinks down the hallway, crawls into bed with him and that’s the end. It is easier than getting up a hundred times a night and we all get a full night’s sleep. Plus one of us gets the whole queen sized bed to ourselves for the rest of the night 😛

– If Monkey is tired or cranky he sits on one of our laps at dinner, usually Hubby’s. This way we all get to enjoy our meal without anyone getting irritable or frustrated.

– Lately Monkey takes 45-90 minutes to go to sleep for us at every nap or bedtime. Here we have a crossroads because we have no idea if he is adjusting to me going back to work after the summer, if he’s not really tired enough and phasing out

naps, or if it’s something else we haven’t even thought of. We continue to try different ways to deal with this and I am trying, *trying* not to blow a freaking gasket every time because I get really, really pissed off when he keeps calling me in. To be honest I don’t even care if he’s awake or asleep, I just want him to be quiet.

– We allow him to play on our phones and/or iPad. We have carefully selected educational and age appropriate games and he is fully capable of turning on the iPad, unlocking the screen, finding his labelled folder, selecting a game, and then exiting that game and choosing something else. Personally I think technology is a tool that can be used to great advantage if used wisely.

– The TV is on most of the morning. Treehouse or Disney Jr. I hate Peppa Pig.

…….That’s all I can think of at the moment but I’m sure there are more.

I would love to hear your take on this post. Again, I don’t require your approval of what we are doing, but I am very interested to know how you all deal with the internal struggles of figuring out this parenting thing. Please comment below or send me a message directly if you don’t want the world to read it (although, that’s kinda what I’m suggesting! Just like in my business, we’re better together right?!)

Now, before I sign off for today, I want you all to do this:
Stand up.
Stretch your arms out to your sides.
Now wrap them around yourself.
Squeeze.
A hug from you to me.
You’re doin’ great, Moms and Dads 🙂

Take care

Love,
Mel

3 Comments

  • Good post Mel…and true in our house as well. I don't know how many times Em does something and I try to remain calm on the outside and inside my head I'm panicking thinking "Oh god, what am I supposed to do now!!"

    Since we have our fair share of sleep issues over here too, one thing that I've found helpful is to fully expect and brace myself every night at bed time for the struggle. Doesn't make the problem go away, but it helps me stay a little calmer through the process. Because oddly enough I've found that yelling, "it's late, GO TO SLEEP!!!" doesn't really create a sleep inducing environment for Em lol! 😛

    Thanks for sharing another great post 🙂

    Melissa

    p.s. I'm completely with you on Peppa Pig…I think that show could be used as a form of torture!

  • I'm sooo glad I have found some other honest parents who are struggling like me to befriend and who will openly discuss their struggles. It makes you feel less alone and who offer new perspectives or ideas that my tired mind can not think of on my own. We to do what it takes to have a peaceful house. Whether it is letting him bite and then watch a show on the nights I just can't fight him. Or laying on the floor for half an hour. We try not to make these "bad" habits our ritual but sanity and happiness is occasionally more important.

    I am always glad to get to idea swap with you and appreciate your honest confessions. Thanks for posting. Missed them.

    Ashley

    Max and Ruby or toopy and Binoo have got to be the WORST!

  • Very interesting read (no surprise there!)….and as we all know, children are not born with an instruction manual … but it sure would be handy! Never doubt yourself as a parent … watching you both raise Monkey is a beautiful thing to witness and consequently, he is a very loveable, humourous, sweet, caring & very intelligent child. We wouldn't want him to be any other way. You are so correct in saying that you don't always know if you are doing the right thing … afterall, you are almost 30 years old and I still don't always know what the heck I'm doing as your parent! Whatever works for your family IS the right thing and if you have to "wing it" from time to time, that's definitely okay. Most of us do that anyway! Love always, Mom xo

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