Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The parents we planned on being

Another rescued draft. I don't know what prompted me to write this. Had there been some particular thing going on? Was that why I did not publish it, because it felt incomplete without the confession of whatever I had done?

Oh well, if there was a particular something, I no longer know what it was. So here you are:

I may have already shared this, but when Andrew was a baby there was a game that I and the other young mothers would play. It wasn't an organized game; it was something like telling fishing stories.

Instead of starting with "The bigggest fish I ever..." our stories started with, "The thing I said I would never do was..."

Perhaps the best entry was the woman who said that she would never do three things: yell at her children; use TV as a babysitter; or give them chocolate. Of course just the day before her small son had been underfoot while she was cooking and she found herself handing him a chocolate cookie and yelling, "Take this and go watch the TV until dinner is ready!"

All three in one swoop.

Yep. Before we have children, however we get them, we read the books. We also watch other parents and judge them. How many times did you say, "When I am a parent I will never do that..."

My big one was that I was never going to drive a child around just to make them fall asleep. Then came the day when I was at my end and Andrew, then a toddler, was screaming and exhausted and wouldn't sleep, and I knew he would fall asleep in two minutes in the car. I picked him up and went for a short drive. (Fortunately for my health and the environment, the only thing that would make Brian fall asleep when he was a baby who could not sleep was being rocked or pushed around in the stroller.)

So, like us all, I am not the parent I planned on being.

I had planned on being so much more patient, and creative. I think I even hoped that I would stop enjoying quiet solo activities like quilting and reading (and blogging) and suddenly take joy out of going on bike rides with my kids. No, I probably knew I wasn't going to change that. But I was always going to say the right thing. I was never going to snap at them. I was never going to do any of the things other parents did that were so wrong.

But my vision was built with incomplete data.

With nearly every other job in the world you get time off. I did not realize how exhausted I would get.


  1. So true. Sad, in some ways, good in others.

  2. Sometimes I hear these young moms and want to say "just you wait".


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