Friday, January 25, 2013

Parenting... a work in progress

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not have the time nor the elequence to post this to my satisfaction, hence this blog post, like it's namesake, parenting, is a work in progress. I am sure I have blogged about this story a number of times, but it illustrates what I'm trying to get at so here it is again. When Jonathan was a toddler (and an only child), I babysat for for two little boys. Both of their parents worked full time and their grandmother lived with them and was their main childcare provider. A few days a week 18 month old Jonathan and I would go over there and play with George (3) and Max (18 months just like Jonathan). We would play outside, go for walks, and occasionally to the park. After giving all three boys lunch, I would then settle 3 year old George on the couch with a video, put Max in his crib with his bottle, bid fairwell the the grandma who'd had the morning off, and head home with Jonathan. The grandma's "time off" would continue as both boys rested or slept for a couple hours. Meanwhile back at home, I would lay down with and nurse my own 18 month old. Somedays he'd sleep and some days not, some days he'd nurse for a short time and then want to talk or read books, some days he'd nurse for hours (or at least it seemed that way). That was when a day lasted for 100 hours as opposed to the 20 minutes it seems like today. Often on those days I'd wonder if all the time and energy (and human milk) I was pouring into my child was worth it. It was certainly exhausting. That other little boy the same age as Jonathan seemed "fine" and he was just plopped in his crib with a bottle and a closed door, while my kid was never more than 3 feet from me all day and night. We've lost touch with George and Max and their family and they may indeed have turned out "fine", I do know that the mother eventually quit her job to stay home with the boys and even homeschooled at least for a little while. I think of those days often. These days I get a lot of people telling me how "lucky" I am that my kids are turning out so well. There are a lot of difficulties that teenagers in our society can encounter. There are a lot of factors that go into how a person will turn out, and I'm in no way implying that difficulties can be predicted and prevented. I am however, not afraid to say (on my own blog that almost nobody reads anyway) that I have worked dilligently (I'd say tirelessly, but I've been tired lots of the time) (and prayed without ceasing) doing everything in my power to help mold the "good kids" that I have today, luck has nothing to do with it. At almost every turn from childbirth to now, I have taken the intense path. Intense natural childbirth, intense nursing, intense cosleeping, intense homeschooling, this doesn't even account for the intense medical situations we've encountered a long the way. At some point in the last 17 years the more intense options made parenting easier. All that hard work poured in yielded good fruit. The other day a friend with younger children remarked that I never seem frazzled (clearly I hide it well), but I told her if it seems that way it is because I appreciate each day and each kid so much because the day where these kids become adults is getting closer and closer as these days fly by. Or maybe I'm just not that frazzled because after 17 years of parenting all of my kids finally sleep through the night almost every night.


ann marie said...

I know I've told you a lot that you have great kids. Hopefully I never used the word lucky to describe how they got there. Parenting is truly the hardest job. Father Carl said last week that if you want to test your faith just get married and I wanted to yell out, nope, if you wanna test your faith, have kids! I don't mean that in a bad way, just parenting is constantly throwing me for loops and certainly keeps me on my toes :)

Terri said...

I have often compared my choices to those that do plop their kids in cribs, playpens, daycare room, etc. and wondered if my intense parenting choices were/are worth it.

Some of the things my 9 year old is going through upset me becaue I think that these things are "not supposed to" happen to a kid who has had all those advantages you speak of.

But, of course, she (like all kids) has her own little personality, perfection and flaws and all so I can't really blame it on my (or my husband's parenting.) "It is what it is." (A phrase I generally dislike, but seems to fit here!)

I certainly hope and I pray that the difficult, tiresome, work I do will yield good results. I wouldn't mind a good dose of luck too, though! ;)

Melissa said...

So well said! Loved it!

Cindy said...

Don't want toseem to be comying Melissa but as usual, so very well said! Especially love the last line!