When we first got Guitar Hero I secretly thought, “I am going to be so amazing at this it will blow everyone away.” I am pretty good at it. But not that good. Average, really. But I still have savant-like moments where I think I might be the best Guitar Hero player in the world.
I feel the same way about being a mom. Sometimes I think I’m awesome at it! Sometimes I think I’m better than most moms and that makes me feel good. But other times, like when one of the kids throws a full cup of chocolate milk at my piano, I realize that I suck. It’s like battling Slash on hard. I’m just not as good as I thought.
Sometimes my kids are so delightful and sweet I can’t help but take credit for them. “Yes. That’s because of me. I rule!” But when they are bad I tend to think, “How can I be responsible when my kids throw chocolate milk? They are their own little people with their own accountability. Sigh.” I am proud that my kids can take care of themselves and each other pretty well—especially when I don’t feel like making breakfast and decide to blog all day. Then again, we spent about three hours in the car on Memorial Day. Forget the three hours. You can imagine how that went. My kids can’t even get in or out of the car without throwing fits and getting in fights. That can’t be the fruit of good parenting.
I blame parenting books for my schizophrenic mothering. The first one I read was by Dr. Sears. It’s very good, but attachment parenting kicked my butt: Nurse on demand, sleep together, be really nice all the time and intuitive about discipline and avoid red dye. That’s a tall order. I’ve read tons of parenting books since then and have decided to pick and choose what works for me instead of implementing whole parenting philosophies. It’s liberating! That’s why I put together this list for you.
I recently picked up Parents Who Think Too Much: Why We Do It, How to Stop at the library. I did the author proud by not checking it out. I know I should trust my own instincts about being a mom instead of relying on so-called experts, but my instincts are telling me to read parenting books by experts.
What are your instincts telling you? My instincts tell me not to do my kids’ science fair projects. And I obey.
When will I know if I am awesome or shoddy? When my kids are grown? How do you measure parenting success? Are you a success if your kids survive? Are you a success if you survive?