So fittingly, last night after *literally* hours of bedtime wars with both my toddler and my almost 6-month old, we were finally lying down in quiet and my husband asks "are we bad parents?" :::silence::: The negative connotation of this kind of flips me, he didn't ask are we good parents, no the opposite, now I have to really think about this. My response to him at the moment was, "I don't know. I hope not, but I guess it's too early to tell." In my head I thought a zillion awful thoughts and scenarios such as "oh, geez this could scar someone for life. Me? Them? I don't want to be a *bad* parent what if I suck at this? What if I am permanently and utterly screwed up? What if my girls..? How do I? What can I? What if...uh, wait a second, now here's a conversation to kick start that blog of ours!"
Consider it my intro. I have two beautiful daughters almost three and almost 6 six months and a loving husband but our life is chaos, complete and absolute chaos. We have our ups and downs, struggles from all directions, a minimal sometimes seemingly non-existent bank account, two full time jobs, an endless number of appointments and meetings, my mother lives with us (we'll refer to it as a full-time, temp position) and a yellow lab; all in a two bedroom duplex and a stamina that is run entirely on caffeine, I should take stock in Starbucks and GMC [note to self for later]. Anywho, this is my life and it's a fantastic one. We constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are and that at 26 and 28 years of age we aren't supposed to have it easy. If we really want to get somewhere in life we have to trek through the rough stuff up a mountain to get to see and, more importantly appreciate, the view from the top. In a very quick nutshell, that's me, Kiki.
But back to the issue at hand, good parents or... bad? It's a daunting topic, no decent human being wants to be a bad parent but it's completely illogical to think at times that you are doing all the "right stuff" (yes, feel free to entertain NKOTB for a moment) back to the matter- parenting in 2012 is not what it was in 2002, 1992, 1985, or 1960 with one exception, parenting is not for the weak and any single person blessed enough to become a parent at arguably, any child bearing age, has the capacity to become a phenomenal parent as long as they are dedicated to loving unconditionally. It's not hard to do this when you have kids and actually most will confirm that it's pretty easy to do the loving part- it's a natural gift the hard part is remembering. While you always know and remember that you love your child it's a challenge at times to keep that in the forefront of your mind when your two year old uses every trick in the book to challenge bed time and ultimately throws a tantrum that makes even you, for a split millisec wonder if that child you hear screeching is being beat all the while you are in a whole other room in a separate part of your home not near the child whatsoever, knowing the last time you saw your precious dear she was lying in her bed saying "Aaamen-love you mommy good night." Hugs. Kisses. "okay, stay in bed" :::door closes:: parent exits. (for anyone wondering there is no issue here, none, no yelling, a seemingly successful bedtime routine, then all of a sudden the door shuts and something possesses your child to scream a scream so utterly alarming that if you didn't know better yourself you might think "well what the hell did that parent just do?? Should I make a 'call'? Are they okay???" immediately following the thought with "oh shit, that's my child, I am the parent! The neighbors are going to think I did something!" Not helping matters is the thumping of her feet as she is jumping and throwing her body to the ground because that is waaay better than the bed as she fights with all their might this idea of going to bed. I rush in-calmly [intended oxymoron]trying to settle the situation loud enough so that maybe the neighbors can hear the muzzling of calm cool connectedness from an adult (think the teachers in charlie brown) while crossing my fingers that they have been through this too and know exactly. what is going on. I keep my cool for the first hour but as we near hour three I pull out every trick I know until finally, I allow my thoughts reference an inappropriate adult sleep book (not to be mentioned here) and then walk in sternly and state We're done. No more ___, ___, and/or ___. (feel free to be creative) go.to.bed. now. "just, one more hug, NO! GO TO SLEEP! If you get up one more time you're ...grounded!!! (uhh, she's 2??!!) I walk out going WTF, really? You couldn't come up with anything better than that??? What are you going to do take away her sippy cup??? Ri.diculous. In this moment, no I do not *feel* like a good parent I feel like crap. Mind you, and I'd like to make it clear there is absolutely no physical, verbal, or emotional reaction or action from parent to child, none. I have done nothing wrong but stood my ground and keeping in mind this episode plays out 5/7 nights a week having not mentioned at all the screaming infant who refuses to be put down or to sleep by anyone but mommy and that I average a shower every 2-3 days, and that odds are this episode will be repeated tomorrow I think the fact I/we still have any sanity left to have this conversation tells me yes, yes we are good parents. Damn fine ones if you ask me.