Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guilt Free Parenting; Is it really possible?

Good Morning. My Mom once told me that once you become a parent, there is always something you feel guilty about. That has become one of the best pieces of information that she has passed down to me. We all strive to be better parents and want the very best for our children and their children. With that feeling of wanting everything perfect for our kids always comes a sense of not meeting up to our own silly expectations, which leads to feeling guilty.

There are thousands of books out there telling us the "right" way to raise our children, many of them quite successful. But, many of them are not entirely realistic either, even difficult to implant or enforce in many circumstances, and way too tough for my liking. I am more in touch with the "Candyass Parenting Group"!

Yes, that's right I said it. It's no surprise, my husband tells me that all the time! I am a Candyass when it comes to my kids, no other way around it. Now, don't get me wrong, I am a huge believer in discipline and respect; I am mostly talking about making my kids work and do chores. I am still making 2 out of 3 of their beds, and have never really asked for help with the house and such. In my opinion, kids are only kids for a very short time and have many years ahead of work and chores. Why not let them enjoy being kids?

So, now that the kids are getting older, it is time to start feeling guilty that I have been too soft on them, and that they will not be prepared for the "real world". Will my theory of teaching them how to be hardworkers simply by example sink in? What about respect of family and home; will they really get it if I don't drill it into their brains? In the last few days I have learned that the answer is emphatically YES!

When we were in Iowa for Thanksgiving we were there to visit my Great Aunt Jaris among a few generations below her. My kids have not seen Aunt Jaris in a very long time, but understand that she is a very important part of our family. I was so happy at the dinner to be able to help her with her plate and such while the others ran around doing kitchen duty. When it was time to get Aunt Jaris her pie, my son Nathan was standing nearby and piped up "I got it, Mom" and proceeded to take Jaris' order. The adults had to hide our giggles when he came back with pumpkin pie that he had carefully spread the whipped cream on like frosting. He proudly handed it to Aunt Jaris and sat down to visit with her; all of my kids had a nice visit with her throughout our trip. It was so nice that she really got to know them as individuals.

The next day I got to spend the entire day with Aunt Jaris. She couldn't quit talking about how she enjoyed my kids and that she would always remember the adorable piece of pie. In her own words, they weren't bothered by the fact that she was "old and crippled", they were just proud to have spent time with a woman who knows so much about our family and its history.

As you know, this trip ended in us bringing home a new puppy as well. Of course, the puppy got sick (this is a whole entire post in itself), so my days have been absolutely crazy. Yesterday I had to take the pup to the vet, get her home and medicated and situated before I ran off to be Santa's Elf at the elementary school Gift Shop (what a cool thing this is!). From there I ran to my Advisory Council meeting, picked up my recyclable while I was there; with the evening winding up with Nate's basketball game. Needless to say, the kids knew I was tired.

I had asked my oldest son, Thomas, to come right home after school to resume care of the sick puppy. I was nervous about leaving too many instructions at once so I concentrated my note to Iowa's care and simply asked him to toss the llamas their hay and lock up the chickens before dark. Marcel, my lead llama who is spoiled rotten, had other plans in mind; he simply could not believe that the kid did not know to give him his grain. Marcel stared Thomas down while he was up at the barn, and then paced the fence while staring at him through the windows when he came back to the house.

When I got home from the game, Tom couldn't wait to tell me the story. Thomas had finally given in and called him on his cell phone to ask what was wrong with Marcel. Tom told him where to get the grain and to just give it to him by the fence. Paco, our sheep, decided that he wanted some too, so Thomas stood down there scaring the sheep away while Marcel ate his dinner. Later Thomas told me that every time he had turned to come home, Paco would come ripping down to where Marcel was eating!

The mental picture of my teenage son down there guarding the llama's food had me laughing so hard I was in tears. The fact that he had recognized that something was not right on the ranch made my heart swell with pride. He had done all of this after he had followed my puppy instructions to a T, and had even cleaned out her crate before I had gotten home.

The point in all of this rambling is that my family has really stepped up lately. Even if I am a Candyass in my parenting ways. Leading by example has worn off on my kids, they understand how hard Tom and I work to keep this ranch running smoothly. I have also learned that somehow they have absorbed my love of family and the great history it has at hand for anyone interested in listening.

Kids are smart; they know that we are doing the best we can. If I can go to bed at night knowing that my family is happy, healthy and secure, I am the most content woman on earth. Now I just have to learn to let go of second guessing myself, and that guilt is a waste of my time; I'd much rather spend my time enjoying them!

Make a miracle today!


pshepherd said...

We all know that you have wonderful children, and we're very proud of them. You and Tom are doing a great job. I love you, Mom

Daisy said...

Leading by example is the best.

lfhpueblo said...

I think the most important thing is to be around your kids at home and they'll see what you're doing. If you're not a hypocrite in your daily life kids get it. If you tell a child to do something that you're not willing to do yourself well you'll get flack from them and then when they grow up they'll not want to do it either.
I think I had too many chores and rules as a kid and therefore cut way back on those as a parent.