Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I Do Well as a Parent

I'm not a perfect parent.

I have screamed at my children.  The first time I did it, I was horrified.  Could not believe I had screamed at Bug that way.  I've snapped at Cat as well, but he has not raised my ire the way my toddler has.  I swear, 90% of the time, he's wonderful, amazing, and funny, and then that other ten percent he's Mr. Hyde.  Or The Hulk.  Or maybe some sick amalgamation of the both of them, with a dose of Linda Blair in there.  And then, Cat...well, he's not as easy as Bug was.  Sometimes I refer to the two of them as the Brothers Cray Cray.  Maybe I should write a children's book series about that.

Side note:  When I make comments like that about my two loveys, some of those smug parents of only one child, who are still completely enamored of everything that their kid does, give me the stink eye.  My favorite is when I post a comment on a friend's Facebook Wall and I get a virtual stink eye. I got news for you, oh Smug Ones:  I used to be one of you.  You have no idea what happens when you have a second one.

But, in spite of moments where I'm not proud of my actions, I know there are things that I do well, and last night when I was out with my girlfriends I was told that obviously I was a good parent.  But, since I feel like I'm constantly flailing and floundering, I figured it was time to give myself some credit.  I'm hard enough on myself as it is.  So here goes:

1.  My kidlets have alone time with me every day.  I make sure every day to say to Bug, "Okay, it's Mommy and Bug time" and we do whatever he wants to do, whether it's read The Poky Little Puppy for the ten millionth time or go outside on the front porch and blow bubbles.  Ten minutes of alone time with each of your children is something that they will cherish forever.  Cat gets alone time with me no matter what since he still sleeps in my room.  My favorite thing that he and I do together is bath time.  I will pop him in his tub and scrub him and sit there and watch his sweet little face light up as he kicks and splashes until every drop of water is out of the bathtub.

2.  I put their needs before mine.  Sometimes this isn't true, like if I really, really need to, uh, use the restroom.  But the bulk of the time it is.  I haul myself out of bed every morning at some ungodly hour and make Bug breakfast.  If Cat wants to listen to Justin Bieber, so help me, I turn on the Biebs.  Do they appreciate it now?  No.  But they will.  I know because my mom always put us before her, and it means more to me than I can say.

3.  I work with my husband to parent.  Bug and Cat have a great dad, and we've grown leaps and bounds as parents.  We also have been working hard to present a united front to our kids, so that they know that Mom and Dad can't be manipulated against each other.

And I love them.  Which, really, is the best thing any parent could do.  We need to cut ourselves a little slack here, I think.  If you honestly love your children, at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.

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