Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great Parental Expectations


As I was blow drying my hair this morning, I was thinking about how I said Logan will never watch TV (we don't even have real TV anyway, but..) and she was watching "Yo Gabba Gabba" right as I had that thought. Sometimes you just have to give up on some of the parenting rules you set for yourself so you can have a good day. I don't have any other way to entertain Logan while I need to shower and dry my hair upstairs, so I put on "Yo Gabba Gabba" for her on the iPod and we're both happy. After she was first born, I was a total mess and thought I was a terrible mother and wife. I could not find enough time in the day to shower, do the dishes, laundry, and clean all while trying to feed and entertain my baby. It has gotten easier as she's grown more independent, but I think the thing that helps most is disregarding my expectations of myself and remembering to take care of me for a few minutes because I take care of everybody and everything else the rest of the day.

I said a lot of things before motherhood; during and even before pregnancy. In watching other people raise their children and especially being a preschool teacher, I knew what kind of parent I was going to be.. I thought I knew. One mom in particular stands out in my memory. When I was a preschool teacher, I had a mother of two boys. She was a sweet lady, a teacher, and her boys were absolute terrors. One boy kicked her and punched her every day when it was time to go home. The other boy pulled out his own hair in raging fits. The whole situation was pretty mind boggling. The thing that really never sat well with me was the way she spoke to them; she'd use a soft voice and tell her boys sweetly as they were physically abusing her or themselves that what they were doing was not ok. I always was boiling on the inside watching her parent her children. I had a million suggestions for her because those boys didn't treat me like that! Teaching toddlers and preschool aged kids hardened me in the sense that I expected myself to be a disciplinarian when it came to my own kids. I'd have fun and play with my toddlers; get messy and run around, but when it was time to move on to another activity or eat nicely or sleep, they knew to listen and they did.

When I found out I was pregnant with Logan, I had conversations with people about what I thought life would be like with her. I told people I would definitely not have a baby sleep in our room; she'd be born and go right in to her own crib and room. I told Rory I did not want to share a bathroom with our baby, that it would invade our space and she needed her own bathtub. I didn't want toys in our room. I had a lot of silly expectations. When Logan was born, I needed her close.. she needed me close, so she slept next to our bed in her Snugabunny until she was six months. This house only has one tub amongst its three bathrooms, so I had to share a tub with her and I don't mind at all. For the first few months of her life, I actually took baths with her. Rory is definitely more stern with her that I am capable of being. I laugh when she's frustrated with me; she's just too damn cute!

I thought children would toughen me up, I thought I would be stern and authoritative, but I am a softy. Trust me, I have my moments where Logan and I butt heads and I raise my voice because she's not listening, but I know that to her, the world revolves around her and sometimes she doesn't understand why she needs to stop playing and we need to get in the car. She just doesn't have that understanding yet, so why get mad at her all of the time over it?

The biggest lesson that Logan has taught me is to just let go. Let go of expectations, let go of strict schedules, let go of most all of my need for control. It's a better day for everyone when we all just go with the flow and understand each others' needs. We do stick to a schedule; Logan eats and sleeps around the same time every day, but on days it doesn't happen, I don't need to be angry about it. When Logan wants to watch an episode of "Yo Gabba Gabba" and we've already played lots of games and done some fun activities, then ok.. let's do it. Logan is teaching me to be the parent I want to be.. all of the expectations I had for myself have flown out the window and I feel like I am better because of it, better because of her.

xo
-Ali

2 comments :

  1. Not to take away from the seriousness of this post, but I love your couch! I have official couch envy!

    ReplyDelete