Life is already so full of competition, why make parenting another area to one up in? We try and make others think we are perfect parents, and that our homes are always harmonious little machines where never a cross word is spoken. Right. I am going to tell you some of the things I am glad I did as a parent, and some of the things I wish I hadn't, and hopefully, to let you know... we are all in this together.
We are all trying to raise little humans, and in our family, to train them to love the Lord and serve others. Let's help each other out here...
A Few Things I Wish I Had Never Done/Said/Displayed
I take full blame. Well, part blame. If my mom had cuffed me a good one maybe I would have stopped. As it stands, I am like a 13yr old who is "so over" what you are saying that the eyes... they roll. Sometime they are followed by the distinctly German 'kchaaaaa" sound from the back of the throat. That is how you will know I am really done with the topic at hand.
2. Brought a TV into the home.
There, I said it. I know it seems crazy, and Amish, and all that, but really... I hate it and love it at the same time. It is too easy to let them watch it. It is too hard to police everything they see on it, and sometimes I want to scream to other parents, "DISNEY TEEN SHOWS ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR KIDS"... but that would be judgemental, so I won't. (whispers) But I do think that.
3. Slate Flooring in the Bathroom.
File this under ignorance please. We put in our lovely slate bathroom floor before any small males were using the potty. We never knew you should seal a slate floor, and then, the whizzers got it. It is my daily goal to eradicate the bathroom stank from the commode area. If you are changing you bathroom flooring anytime soon, make it one you can hose down with bleach. (I have a whole other blog post about my ideal bathroom and the ability to hose it down from floor to ceiling.)
4. Forgot how to Praise.
Somewhere along the line, I began to just expect my kids to act right. I forgot to praise them for kindness and right choices, and became critical if they messed up. Criticism and correction are polar opposites, and it is a deep regret that I replaced the latter many times with a sharp tongue.
5.Overlooking Teachable Moments.
I am often chiding myself for letting "important things" lead to missing a chance to teach my kids. I can brush them aside too easily to take a phone call, return a text, or chat with a friend. Guess what? God wants me to maintain my ministry with my family first, then the church. I know, not a popular idea for a "pastor's wife" to say, but how would I be leading the ladies of our church if I was able to always display a lack of importance for time with our own little brood of five?
There. I said it. I have yelled at my kids. It is embarrassing, and I am not saying it so others will make me feel better about it. Its not ok. I am trying, and trying is the keyword, to think before I launch off on one of them, "How is this helping correct their behavior and move their heart to a better choice?" Am I always successful? Nope. I failed yesterday. It is a daily battle, maybe it is not yours, that is awesome. Pray for the ones who struggle with it. Yellers are people too...we just need to be quieter people.
7. Cheaping out on a good camera.
I know Dave Ramsey would flame me for this, but... if you are having a baby, go buy a good camera, even if you have to get the Best Buy card and make payments for 12 months. Please note, Dave and all other financial police: I did not say go buy the most expensive camera. I did say invest in a good camera and take pictures... every.stinking.day. Someday those shots of your kiddo eating cereal or reading in their undies, will be worth it. Bonus points if you can get yourself into the photos once in while too, messy mom hair and all.
8. Not Playing Enough
Can I blame my mom for this one too? Doubt it. She was a single mom, raising four kids, managing a home and all. She had a reason to be tired and not always play with us. I do not have those reasons, and yet, it is with great head hanging shame that I admit... I have taken my children outside and literally said, "Please. Please go play, I just want to read Lucky and sip crystal light." I have even spouted off with the occasional, "There is a reason I gave birth more than once. Built in playmates. You have two brothers to play with. Go." Now, I know there is a balance here, we DO need time alone and our kids DO need to play together. I am talking about me being lazy, and just not hitting the ball with them, or playing tag. Will I get sweaty? Yes. Will someone inevitably get mad? Yes. Will we still be making a memory? Yes.
9. The Clenched Teeth Store Threat
I cannot tell a lie. I did it to Lincoln this week. If you do not know what I am talking about, you were either a really good child whose mom never did it to her, or you are currently a parent who lies. It is not the worst parenting move ever, but if you abuse it, you will have to use the arm-twist-teeth-clenched-seething-with-anger-voice, every time you go out in public, and that will make you look like super mean mom. Or someone with lock jaw. Either way, I wish I would always remember to just give that little whisper... you know, that authoritative, you are not going to keep acting this way whisper. In the long run it is much more effective than the clench threat where you are left bearing your teeth like a horse in heat.
**Later this week I will post the other list. The easier to write and fun to think about list. It is... The Few and Assorted Things I am glad I did as a Parent. Stay tuned. Well, given my track record for blogging, don't actually stay tuned, just come back say, Monday or something. I can't have you just reading all my dirty laundry... there are actually moments when the laundry IS clean.