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Somethin' for the Kiddies....

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's O.k. to Be "a Differnt"

I heard a quote the other day that has me thinking about a variety of things. It was something to the effect of, "One of the hardest things about parenting is recognizing your child for who they are. Even if that isn't anything like you." It is a great point and something I think is a hard pill to swallow for some people. I mean, this human being comes out of your own body for god's sake. Of course you assume they are a PART of you, MADE by you...certainly they will have all the wonderful and terrible characterisitics of you, right? Well, sometimes that is true.
For example, I feel Lucy shares about 90% my personality. I am sure her father feels the same. She is social and verbal and is happiest when she is laughing with other kids. She gets frustrated easily and is emotional. Pleasing others, especially people she loves, is important to her. She is cued in to what is funny and will repeat things for attention and laughs. She sings and dances and is naturally drawn to music. She's pretty girly. She is lovey dovey and is really good at expressing her feelings. She doesn't like to sit still. She has reached all her milestones within the "normal" timeframe. She has been a pretty predictable kid and hasn't thrown us for any loops. That is just her style. This may not be her brother's style. We shall see what he brings us.
I see my friend's kids and acquaintance's kids and they are all different styles and personalities. I have noticed that they all excel in different situations. They all have their own definition of fun. They are all great at some things and not so great at others. Sometimes I hear a parent express that they wish there child did this or that. Or that their child is doing this "early" or "late." There is all this pressure out there. Pressure to make sure your child is "normal." Learning about all the latest opinions on kid's activities...preschools...daycare....potty training...feeding...sleep schedules..disciplne...blah blah blah. You could kill yourself trying to keep up with it all.
They tell you not to compare children, but is it really possible to constantly be around kids of similar age to yours, and talk to these moms about the day to day and NOT compare even a little bit? It's just human nature. One thing I have learned in my short 26 months as a mother, is that everyone parents differently and every child is completely different. The only people who need to be o.k. with that are those parents and that child. Not the rest of the world. Not even your best friend needs to agree with how you do things. If it works for you and your family, than good for you. The normal range of developmental milestones is a huge spectrum. Kids will surprise you but some won't. And you may pop a child out that looks and acts nothing like you.
I think parents are this way because there is so much to learn and we are all relatively new to this. Add to that, the knowledge that this is the most important job we will ever have, and it leaves people feeling they must do it all "perfectly" and create this "perfect child." Instead of a "perfect child," maybe we should just work on creating a child with high self-esteem, who has developed into their own. We need to recognize that we are all different, even at birth. And all we can hope for is that we have prepared these children to handle the world out there. I want to create a home that they can always come back to, with great memories and a supportive family they can always count on. If I can do that, I will have done my best work. So they don't need to be just like me. In fact, it will probably be more interesting if they aren't!


At 8:07 AM, Blogger Meema said...

Absolutely GREAT entry!!!


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I'm a 39 year old stay-at-home mom. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. I have lived in the big city and in the mountains, but am happy to be back in the Midwest, raising the fam. I enjoy laughing, wine, bad karaoke, US Weekly, running, cemetaries, cheese sticks and short hair-dos. In my previous life, I was class-clown and a wanna-be comedian. In my professional life, I'm a journalism major with 10 years of marketing and PR experience. I dream of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live and working at Disney World as Snow White.

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