As a parent, you constantly worry if you’re doing what is best for your kid. You worry if maybe you’re being too soft on them, or maybe you’re being too hard. Is your punishments enough to create a sense of better judgement in your kid? Are they ever going to learn how to be successful adults? Are we being their friend rather than their parent? Are we causing too much emotional damage that will cause them to one day tell those stories to a therapist on a couch one day? Are we the reason that they will be spending hundreds of dollars on therapy as adults? Or are we being overly sensitive? Are we being the type of parent that they will learn how to push around to get their way? Does their bad behaviors reflect on who we are as parents?
My kids are under the age of ten and yet I still worry constantly about how I am as a parent and how it will affect them in the long run. My oldest is sensitive. Boy is she sensitive. You raise your voice to her and she shuts down. And cries. She is a big cryer. And I am not saying that is a bad thing. It is great to be emotional and to be able to be okay with your emotions. My husband lack in the emotion department. It has to be VERY big for him to cry. Or to show any emotions. I find myself asking him what he is thinking all the time because his POKER face is just that darn good. Our youngest, however, is the complete opposite of her sister. She is tough. She is brave. She is fearless. She laughs at your raised voice. She snickers at your little pop on the behind and she only cries when she doesn’t get her way. That or she is overly tired. Our oldest is me. I was a sensitive child. Heck I am still sensitive today. And our youngest is their daddy. If you were to put us four in a poker game…..Myself and our oldest would be losing because we would show it on our face. My husband and our youngest would be winning because they could have the best or worst hand on the planet and you would NEVER see it on their face.
We constantly are adapting to this thing called parenting. I think that everyone is. It isn’t something that you’re born with. Kids are never the same. So even though I babysat a lot growing up, I wasn’t fully prepared to be a mom at 19. I did, however, know that my days of being young and carefree were over. It was time to buckle down and make sure that my child had everything and knew everything that I didn’t when I was her age. I find myself explaining things more to her, to them both. Why we do things this way or what this means. Instead of saying ‘Because I Said So’ I try to explain why I said so. That’s not saying my mom didn’t do it. She did. We were always informed if something was going to happen. I remember when my paternal grandfather was sick and in the hospital. I was around 7 or so. My mom took us three kids to the hospital and before we went in she explained that he was very sick and that he probably wouldn’t be going home. That this was probably our last time seeing him. That we should, if we felt like we wanted to, say our goodbyes and tell him that we loved him. She never forced us to say ‘I love you’ to anyone in the family. She always just kind of told us if you feel it. If you feel like you love your grandpa and want him to know it then you should tell him. I did. I told him. Even though I questioned his love for me on a daily basis. He was a weird old man. Who found humor in ripping hang nails off my little fingers or trying to set the stray strings of my brothers pants on fire. He was weird. But so was his son, my father. But I still loved him. He introduced me to Deer Jerky which I still to this day find the best jerky. Growing up in the south, Deer is something you hunt, eat and try ever so dearly not to hit with your car.
However, I think that the most important thing as parents is believing in your children. For every person who believes in themself was a parent that believed first. I like photography. It is one of my joys. It is one of my coping mechanisms for anxiety. I don’t like being the center of attention. there is something about being behind a camera that allows me to feel more confident. Then the editing process. I can spend hours editing photos. In that time…while editing I am calm. My anxiety doesn’t feel as threatening. My mom loves my photos. Especially of her grandkids. She loves how I can get her oldest grandson, who doesn’t smile, to smile. The full face tooth smile. No one else can get him to do that. But I can. My mom is always telling me how good my photos are. And I am usually very confident in my art. However, there is that one person that just ruins everything for me. Said person constantly tells me that another family member is better than I am. Said family member photographed an award show. Said family member is traveling all over to take photographs. I literately have limited my time around said person because I can only stand being told someone is better than me at pretty much everything in life for so long.
My husband is training to be a wrestler. His mom isn’t too fond on it because she doesn’t want anyone to hurt her baby. My husband is an only child so I completely understand that point of view. However, she is always behind her baby no matter anyway. She believes in him. She knows he can do anything and everything that he sets his mind to. That is one of the main reasons, I believe, for why he is doing amazing in his training class. Because his mom first believed in him and now he believes in himself. And I believe in him so much. I swear I am his biggest fan.
So as a parent…even though we all question our parenting styles or whether we’re hurting their emotional growth….the best thing that we can do is ALWAYS believe in them. Because if we don’t believe in them, as their parents, then who will? Who will be their biggest fan when they’re trying something new? Who will be cheering them on when they pass that test? Believe in your kids no matter what and they will grow into teens and adults who belive in themselves. Throughout everything my kids do right or wrong, I believe in them. I know that they are good kids at heart and that they are stil learning, growing and developing. It is my job as a mom to believe in them, nuture them and help them grow into happy adults. Money is great but it isn’t everything and I don’t want my girls growing up thinking that they wil only be happy if they have money. Happy is an emotion not a financial status. I believe in my girls. I believe that they will follow their hearts. That is the biggest greatest thing that I can do as a mom. Is believing in them. I will cheer them on. I will pick them up if they fall. I will wipe away any tears. I will fight with them if they need me too. And I will always FIGHT for them. Because they made me a mom.. The greatest thing that has happened to me.