The Things I Swore I’d Never Do :: A Parenting Lesson in Humility

Confession

I was THAT lady. You know the one I’m talking about: The childless woman whose imaginary children were perfection personified…who had an answer to every hypothetical parenting scenario…who worked with children and, therefore, KNEW ALL THE ANSWERS TO ALL THE QUESTIONS. Yeah, you know the lady I’m talking about, and I’m sure you know where this post is headed.

Spoiler :: Just call me Jon Snow because I knew nothing. NOTHING.

My 8th grade science teacher used to tell us, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” I feel like this is an apt description of my relationship with parenting knowledge. Now that I have five children of my own, I feel like I know a little something. But, experience has taught me that with as much as I know, there is infinite knowledge to be gained. So, for those of you who don’t need to learn everything the hard way, let me share a few of my {mis}judgements and spare you the necessity of eating humble pie.

Lesson 1

“I could NEVER put a leash on my child! How lazy can a parent get?! That is so humiliating and damaging for a child!”

You know what’s also damaging to a child?
Getting hit by a car.
Being kidnapped.
Falling head first down a flight of stairs.

The Things I Swore I’d Never Do:: A Parenting Lesson in Humility | Houston Moms Blog

I didn’t realize before I had children that kids don’t just magically stay glued to your side when you take them to public spaces. Some kids are “runners.” I have a runner. I will literally turn to open the car door, and before I can even start unbuckling seatbelts, my son is out of the car and halfway down the street. At one point, I had three three-year-olds and a two-year old. Y’all can guess about how well I managed taking them out in public before I gave in and leashed my little beasties. It was like herding cats, and it was exhausting just keeping them all together and out of harm’s way. I could NEVER put a leash on my child…until his safety and mine depended on it. I was wrong. I knew nothing. I admit it.

Lesson 2

“Parents who feed their children fast food don’t care about their kids’ dietary wellbeing.”

I have some weirdo mutant kids who prefer a plate of sliced tomatoes to a plate of chicken nuggets, and will gobble down a veggie platter with ranch over a slice of pizza any day of the week. But, guess what? Sometimes, when I only have an hour between being done with my day job and starting my evening job, I literally only have time for a quick trip through the drive thru line before I head back to work. Sometimes, putting food on the table means 99 cent burgers because they are fast and filling and as a single working mom, that’s about as good as it’s gonna get on the lean, hectic days immediately preceding a paycheck. Sometimes, the thought of cooking even one more meal that one of my children will inevitably refuse to eat is enough to make me run screaming for the nearest psychiatric facility, so I opt to keep my sanity and grab a pizza on the way home.

Parents who feed their kids fast food instead of homemade four course meals don’t love their children any less than parents who slave away all afternoon in the kitchen. Sometimes, life gets in the way of even the best dietary intentions. I didn’t know that before. I know that now.

Lesson 3

“Whoa! Look at that kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target! I would NEVER let my child speak to me like that in public. My kids will understand that if they embarrass me in public, I will embarrass THEM in public. Tantrums in public places will never happen.”

I have a child with special needs. I feel like if you also have a child with special needs, you understand that nothing else needs to be said here. But, for those of you who are not so lucky {and I mean that sincerely…I wouldn’t change a thing about this amazing child}, let me tell you what having a child with special needs has taught me about judging parents whose kids act up in public spaces :: I have no idea what is really going on, so I need to reserve my judgement for other things.

I cannot even count the number of public meltdowns I have experienced with my child, and while the circumstances vary, the result is inevitably at least a couple of eyerolls and head shakes as onlookers stroll by and judge my {lack of} parenting skills. There have been times I’ve struggled for HOURS just to get out of the house because this child’s sensory issues sometimes manifest in the refusal to wear any pants that they can “feel on the back of [their] legs.”

Can you guess how many pairs of pants we own that they cannot feel on the backs of their legs?
Zero.
We own zero pairs of pants that fit that description.

Soooo, guess how agreeable this child is when we finally leave the house {with pants} after fighting about said pants for an hour and a half? Cue up the public meltdown music because this kid could not care less about the fact that I have things to do and places to go. The meltdown is happening…it’s a matter of when, not if. And, frankly, on days when I’ve struggled for hours just to leave the house, the last thing I need as I grapple with a screaming, flailing child is your judgemental sneer, Susan. And I could do without your self-righteous eyeroll, too, Greg.

Final Take Away

All this is basically to say :: Let’s be gentle with each other and with ourselves. Let’s recognize that we all have a lot to learn. We all have stories, and we rarely know the “why” behind the “what,” so let’s make the world just a little bit better by giving each other {and ourselves!} the benefit of the doubt. The world can be a kinder place because of you and me, and after parenting 5 kids for the last 14 years, I know a lot more than I did, but I also know I have a lot more learning to do.

What parenting challenges have you faced that caused you to react in ways you never thought you would? I’d love to hear your stories.

 

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3 Responses to The Things I Swore I’d Never Do :: A Parenting Lesson in Humility

  1. Annie Manning June 14, 2018 at 8:21 am #

    You are a brilliant mom, writer and human!

    • kalani
      kalani June 14, 2018 at 10:31 am #

      Aw, back atcha Annie! Love and miss ya, friend.

  2. Montoya
    Montoya June 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

    Kalani, your writing just hits me right in the heart. And in the funny bone! “And, frankly, on days when I’ve struggled for hours just to leave the house, the last thing I need as I grapple with a screaming, flailing child is your judgemental sneer, Susan. And I could do without your self-righteous eyeroll, too, Greg.” LOL why Susan? Why Greg? Hilarious!

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