Do you remember talking with your partner and fantasizing about what it would be like when you had kids?
We can dress them in amazing clothes. We can throw fabulous birthday parties. They'll be best friends with their cousins. Our offspring will be amazing athletes/actors/musicians - we'll go to all their events together. Just imagine all the great holidays we'll get to share with them. We'll be able to see the world through their eyes. Won't it be incredible?
Now fast forward 15 years. Do they get any birthday parties? Do they spend nearly enough time with their cousins? Are you going to all their events? Have you forgotten to look at the world through their eyes?
It amazes and saddens me how many parents have no idea where their kids are, don't go to any school functions or sporting events, and don't even know a single parent in their child's grade.
On any given weekend, we have a dozen kids coming in and out of our house. The vast majority are just dropped off without us ever meeting a parent. I was thrilled over the break when a boy came over to study with my daughter and his mom called me first to make sure it was ok and that I would be home. I can count on one hand how many times that's happened. Don't get me wrong, I'm not above the drive-by and staying in my comfy car, especially on the days where the temperatures are teetering in the teens, but it's always someone I know, have talked to before, or feel comfortable with.
When you were growing up, do you remember how you use to say, "When I have kids, I'm going to do some things differently." Are you really doing things differently? Have you forgotten how hard you wanted to work at being a good parent instead of just working really hard to get a good paycheck?
I'm not throwing stones. I do crappy things as a parent as well. I haven't been to a movie night or ice cream social in years. I couldn't swallow my distaste for the PTO long enough to serve on the board. I don't make my kid's lunches, and I barely make dinner. There are a ton of things I do wrong. There are plenty of things that I fantasized about that would occur once I was a parent that seemed to fizzle when the reality of life took over.
From time to time like most people, I need that reminder. I need to remember the reasons I wanted to have children in the first place. I need to make sure I'm enjoying life through their eyes and giving them the opportunities to shine. I need to constantly build a solid foundation for them so they're ready to fly without too many holes in their wings.
The other day, I couldn't help but hear my daughter talking to one of her friends. They were discussing each others parents and all the things that they were doing wrong. They complained for quite a while about their various situations, and how tough their parents are to live with. Toward the end of the conversation, I heard something out of my daughter that really let me know that even with all the mistakes, I was on the right track.
"My mom drives me completely insane with wanting to know who I'm with and what I'm doing. I mean, I know she has my back and all, but sometimes I just wish she'd get off it"
Remembering why we had kids in the first place is really difficult to do when they're teenagers. You may not get around to making fabulous party favors from Pinterest or creating a picture perfect holiday. However, if your kid can come out of adolescence with simply knowing that you'll always have their back, you're doing alright.
Please follow Cheaper Than Therapy on Facebook