Friday, May 21, 2010
There will always be someone better at this than me. I had high aspirations of being a super-parent. I read EVERY book out there on infant care before Em was born. A small confession: I took notes. That's how determined I was to do this right. I swore I'd never use the swing, bouncer, or other "sleep clutch" to lull my baby to sleep because the books told me she needs to learn how to fall asleep on her own. Fast forward to the day I put Em's mechanical swing in our dark walk-in closet, draped the hairdryer over the door on high, and laid beside her crying and praying she'd sleep for more than 10 minutes. Having a baby changed all of the rules. At the end of the day, I think all parents do the best we can with the resources we have available to us.
I'm not proud of all of my parenting moments. At age 2, Emily probably shouldn't be saying "Cheeseburger!" every time we pass the golden arches. She says, "Mommy's drinking wine" when she sees me with a glass and on occasion belts out, "Oh my God... Are you kidding?!" Wonder where she heard that?
However, the benefit of working with children and families is that you get to see the entire spectrum of parenting. I once did a risk screen interview in which the father told me his son has never played with fire. He then bragged that his son knows better "ever since I held his hand over a candle to show him how hot it is." I'm doing better than that guy. You'll never see my daughter in a Hooters T-shirt, carrying a cell phone as a 2nd grader, or exhausted because she was up late watching The Ring with her parents. By the way, that movie terrified me.
Thinking about those situations makes me feel better. So what if my kid is the one who tells her teacher, "Mommy and Daddy drank a WHOLE bottle of wine last night!" I'm OK with that. Provided it's a good bottle of wine.