We’ve all heard our parents or maybe our grandparents tell us about the good ole days. A time when things were simpler and people more friendly. Perhaps as teenagers, like I know I did, we rolled our eyes at them and thought crazy ole people, don’t they see how far we’ve come? The advancements that have made our lives better, faster and more efficient? Maybe we still rolled our eyes at them in our 20’s, because look at all the amazing things that have even happened just in the last two decades. Internet, email, touch screen, smart phones, smart TV’s, Hybrid cars, medical advancements in treatments, surgical advancements, social media, and all the like. The ability to access and publish information quickly to a large portion of people. And now as a parent and only since then do I see things in a different light. All of these things have their benefits for sure, but I think there is something to be said for keeping it simple, less is more, and simple pleasures, especially when it comes to the pressure these things place on us.
I’m talking about the pressure to know things, to be informed, to share, to do the “right” things, wear the “right” things, say the “right” things and be with the “right” people. Again all of these can be good sometimes too, like knowing what your buying, or what options are available, but with all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. I’m sure we could all write a blog about how too much TV or Video games is bad, but today I want to focus in on a different issue I see that keeps recurring.
With internet and social media, parents have access to information like never before. Parenting sites, blogs, pages, support groups and research information is everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with articles, letters and posts on parenting. Again good in moderation, but how do all those articles we read and posts we see about parenting make us feel?
More and more often I am reading encouraging blogs about not worrying if your not a perfect parent or a perfect mom. Articles about enjoying the simple things in life, or letting your kids have more independence and saying no to attachment parenting. And the scary part….. we need to read those articles, we need to be reminded to not be so hard on ourselves. So that got me thinking…. Why do we need to be told these things?
It would seem that sometime in the last two decades something happened to the standards of parenting. Socially have we expected too much, set the bar too high, and made it our business to be in everyone else’s business? Parents are scrutinized and measured up to some kind of standard set by “THEM”. And when we don’t measure up we feel guilty. It seems now that as parents we are taking a stand and saying no to this. More and more I’m reading about being a good mom is being true to yourself and trying your best. How not to be so hard on yourself if there’s toys everywhere and your home does not look like the IKEA catalouge. A reminder that our kids wont remember the clothes we wore, or the color we dyed our hair, but the times we sat on the couch and read them a bedtime story. Those articles truly encourage and inspire me. They remind me that if we really do try our best, show respect and don’t be so quick to judge, that we don’t have anything to be guilty about, except for being human. And maybe that is what we are realizing…. that we are just that Human. We make mistakes and that’s okay. Reading these things makes me hopeful that we have not lost touch with a simpler time, and that maybe we can continue to make our world a better place for our own children’s children.
Gone are the days when Mom gave you $0.25 to go see a double feature at the theatre downtown with your brother on a Saturday and told you to not to come back till supper (True recollection from my Father-in-Law) but is organizing every minute of the day being with your child and then trying to cook, clean, dress and look perfect better? I think we are desperately searching for a happy medium right now, and we are looking for other parents who feel the same way. I know I’m not the only one out there as I have found friends who share this view. Right now I believe we are in the process of trying to learn from the past and grow in the future taking the good things from both. I think we now recognize the benefits of encouraging independence but know the importance of guidelines. I want my children to be aware that people watch everything they do and say but to also not be trapped by this. I wonder what the world is going to be like for my children in two more decades, a thought I never worried about till now. Will it truly be a better place? Only time will tell.
This mom is going to try putting her guilt and judgement out with the trash, and set realistic expectations. Live by example and not worry if my floors are sticky. I can clean them tomorrow. I will also not try to stress about those 10lbs and remember that my kids care more about hugs then my love handles. As long as I stay healthy and keep my kids feed and healthy, clothed and happy, then the rest can follow. We need to start with the simple things which are the most important. Love, food, shelter and grow from there.
My mom who inspires me always gave me a gift for mother’s day and I think it is a really good reminder…. GOOD MOMS HAVE STICKY FLOORS, DIRTY OVENS AND HAPPY KIDS. My dad who cares about my happiness with all his heart gave me another gift that says: In this house we do real, we do loud really well. we do sorry. we do fun. we do mistakes, we do second chances. we do hugs, we do family. we do love…… So my parents really get it. They know what its like. And these pictures and sayings are out there to purchase, so that tells me deep down our whole society believes it too and we want to bring it back to the forefront. We want to live it daily and for that I am glad.
Cheers to all the moms and dads out there who are trying to keep it real and simple. Be proud, Do your best, Learn from your mistakes and let your kids be kids, so in turn they can do the same.