Sometimes, so much of being a mom seems like nothing more than having parenting luck. When I see those parents who are always talking about how good their kid is and how easily they do this or that, I’m thinking that parent lucked out. I mean, sure we play a role in our kid’s personality, but only sometimes — and in what seems like random amounts.
I have three kids. All my kids have some things in common with me or my husband. However, there are traits that make me and my husband look at each other and think whose kid is this!?
There are many dilemmas in parenting. And yes, there is a book or specialist for every parental dilemma. But let’s be honest, sometimes you luck out and sometimes you don’t.
All my kids were great sleepers as babies. I mean, amazing sleepers! As soon as I started sleep training, it worked. My baby was sleeping ten hour stretches at three weeks old. All three of my kids took amazing naps during the day, which I had to force them out of just so we could go out to play. My newborn slept in the same room as my one and a half-year-old, and they never woke each other.
The book I used for sleep training was amazing. I swore that book was the answer to having amazing sleepers. I told everyone about the book and how it was a sure thing. To be honest, I still tell people it is an amazing book.
But then I met a friend with a colicky baby. She read the book, too, but it didn’t help. Then I met another friend who had read the same book, tried all of it, and still her kid would not take naps. And after I met a few other friends who this miracle book was not a miracle for, I had to rethink some things. Was this book really magic, or were my kids going to be good sleepers anyway?
Let’s fast-forward ten years to my current dilemma. My two oldest boys are 10 and eight. They kind of know what they like and kind of know what they don’t like. Although they kind of know, I’m supposed to “for sure” know. Because I’m the parent.
My dilemma: When do I push them to do what they kind of want to do, and when do I chill and not push them to do what they kind of don’t want to do? Do you want to skip down to the answer or do you want me to tell you right now?
OK, I’ll tell you right now. It is all parenting luck.
You are going to make an executive parental choice about the activities concerning your child, and the success of that decision will be determined by the level of joy that kid decides to have during and at the end of that activity.
Example: Soccer season was approaching, and I asked my boys if they wanted to play.
At first, they said “no” and then they said “OK.” So I decided to go with “OK.” You know team sports are so good for kids and yadda, yadda, yadda. So my middle child started off excited about it. He liked being on the same team as his brother. He liked the shoes and the uniform and for a very little while, he liked running around.
But then he started to not like running around. Then he complained about having to practice twice a week. His first game he scored a goal on his own team.
Yeah, not FOR his team, but ON.
We all know one kid will do it. I just happen to be the lucky parent of that one kid. By the end of the season, he had said more than once that he never wanted to play soccer again.
So in my head, I decided that it really isn’t worth registering and paying for activities that he wasn’t 100 percent into. But then taekwondo was advertised on base. I thought about how good this would be to teach defense and discipline. At first, he didn’t want to do it, but I showed him some YouTube videos, and he got excited about it. He went to his first practice and he was so motivated. And he actually looked forward to going back. He would get in the car and talk about how he wanted to learn the words and the moves so he could move up to yellow belt. I was so excited. I made a good choice.
Or so I thought. Out of my control, half of the classes were canceled because the Master PCS’d. #unlucky
I feel like the parental motto should be: Good luck with that.
What have you lucked out on as a parent and what have you been not so lucky with?