Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Drive the Line

I have been driving this road for over nine years now. I have been trying to stay in the middle lane, you know the one between "let your children run willy nilly" or "my children are free spirits, I let them be who they are" and the other side "my kids are not allowed to do anything fun as it might harm them, Godforbid".

Driveway to the Ranch

Those descriptions might be a bit dramatic, even I will admit that.

The thing is, I find myself drifting to the left then over correcting and finding myself somewhere off to the right. I feel like an drunk driver and I don't like it.

Balance. It's what I strive for in most aspects of my life. I said strive, not achieve, just for the record.

One thing I try to limit is screen time. North America has an obesity problem that, in my opinion, is not helped by the fact that most of us sitting comatose in front of some form of electronic screen for too much of the day. I don't believe in not having a TV at all. I think deprivation can lead to rebellion. Rebellion is always a risk, I am not willing to up the ante on that one.

Another thing I try to limit is junk food and processed food. I know I feel like horse dung when I eat too much of it so by default it just can't be good for growing boys. However, again, deprivation is not the answer. So we have our treats and try to fill tup on decent food the rest of the time.

Sometimes there is too much TV time and too much junk food. I wish it went the otherway around but sadly, it rarely does.

Then there are the things that I cannot control. Things that I know people judge me on. Or maybe I just judge myself?

My kids are who they are. They are not outgoing. Have you met me? They are not antisocial either but they can come off as slightly rude because they are shy and uncomfortable around adults they don't know well. Frankly they can be shy around adults they know well. It is who they are. I cannot make them outgoing. I cannot change who they are.

I know this. Other people may not but I refuse to make excuses for my children. They do not have to be excused for who they are.

I got extremely off topic here. What was I saying again? Oh yeah, I am drifting between lanes trying not to crash the car.

Maybe I need a GPS?


Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

parenting is a journey of choices. But if you are like me, then you realize that teaching the concept of moderation is needed. My sons get tv time, they know how to play on the computer, play wii and such, but they also love to play out in the sandbox, go for walks, play on the playground and such.

You can't control everything your child does. They HAVE to learn to make choices on their. Your job isn't to protect them from life... it is to prepare them to deal with life. Children need to learn boundaries, they need to make mistakes, they need to learn to work in the world they will live in.

Your sons are who they are... you should never be made to feel bad for that... you can model and encourage but in the end... they are who they choose to be

Angella said...

It's a long and windy road, this parenting gig, but I think the fact that you care about it, and analyze your choices, makes you a great Momma.


Cheryl said...

people used to tell my mom I was rude as a kid....I was shy..plain and simple.
The kids will benefit the most from having a mom who truly knows who they are and is not changing them just to please others.
The general public are simply ignorant.

Loukia said...

Finding balance is very hard. Being a parent is hard and challenging every single day... we can only do the best we can.
You're a great mom to your kids. :)

Anonymous said...

I can absolutely relate, Kami. It is a hard road, this parenting road. But as Angella said, the fact that you think about these things and write about them and share them just PROVES that you are doing a great job. I think it's the parents who deliberately drive drunk, who don't wear their seatbelts or get their cars serviced, who spend all their time in the pit stop, or who continually crash and don't bother to repair the damage ... they the ones whose children will suffer. Yours won't because you are a GREAT mom who cares and wants the best for them. You understand them like nobody else can, and that's why they are so lucky to have you as their biggest cheerleader. You shouldn't have to explain the things about them that OTHER people don't "get" ... because you know their hearts. Unconditional love, and all that.

I think we all wish that everybody could see our kids for who they REALLY are. Shy kids come out of their shells in their own homes, away from the prying eyes and ears of strangers. Loud & aggressive kids have a soft side that only their family see. Stubborn kids have a determination and drive that isn't always noticed by people who only give them a superficial look.

At the end of the day, your boys know that you love them, and they are GREAT kids. I know this because I know YOU. And although it's really hard to drive this road without hitting a few pot holes or veering off course, I know you've got a great GPS ... your heart is in the right place, and that's all the matters!

Jen Wilson said...

DUDE. After spending just one night with your family, I can say that I completely love you guys. Your boys play better together than any siblings I have ever met and the love they have for you and Jay, and vice versa, is just so awesome. As I was working on that thing last night, I showed Noah and said something like you were one of the most amazing families that I have ever met. I think you're doing a pretty amazing job. And Kaylie really enjoyed playing with your boys. :)

Midwest Mommy said...

Parenting is so hard. We all do what we can and pray for the best.

Ashley said...

By not making excuses for them you're doing them a great service! You're teaching those boys that being themselves - even if that's shy and withdrawn, is ok, heck it's even great! If you were to make excuses or do what was done to me as a child and force them to "come out of their shell" (which isn't really coming out of your shell it's pretending so people will stop harassing you), all you are saying to them is that there is something wrong with them. Which there isn't.

I think we all roll between the lanes, it's what shows our kids we're human not robot. And I say if you have good kids, a happy house and you're happy then you must be doing it right!

Debbie said...

I think teaching your boys about looking for that balance is great, and even though you may not realize it, you're teaching them it by example. That's being a great parent.

I too was that "stuck up kid" simply by virtue of being shy and introverted. It makes me seething angry when adults place labels on children (and by extension the parents) after only being around them for 15 minutes.

Haley-O said...

Beautiful post, Kam. I love the metaphor. Love the pix. Motherhood is so hard to navigate. You're a wonderful mama.... xo

Ed said...

I think we all seek balance. It's the unattainable goal.

I'm not so sure GPS is the answer. Mine is always telling me, "You are now off track..." with an annoying beep. I don't think we really need that, now do we?

Karen MEG said...

I love it when you get all metaphorical...

Kids will be who they are. My kids tend to be of the more social variety (at least the boy - he's the first one to say hi and shake your hand)... the girlie is still shy. Me, well, I was a total introvert as a kid, and as a young adult, many thought I was a total bee-atch before they got to know me.

I think you and Jay are great models for your kids ...they are still works in progress (as we all are, I find even in myself). And because of that foundation, they'll ultimately stay on the straight and narrow but still have fun on the way, that I'm sure about.