Parenting Theories

I’ve been reading a lot of stories about parenting theories. It was prompted by the Time magazine cover that has a lot of moms talking. Of course, a lot of moms came out swinging, especially with a cover line that states: “Are you mom enough?” Really, Time? Really?

I think that cover has a lot of us talking because, as parents, we are all insecure. We’re all hoping and praying that we’re “Mom enough.” My friend and I end a lot of parenting conversations with two words, “It’s hard.” I believe I make about 100 parenting mistakes a day. I believe that I don’t even know what mistakes I’m making. And I feel guilty. All that a cover line like that does is increase insecurity and make us all feel guiltier and more defensive.

I, of course, have a lot of parenting opinions, but when the chips are down and my little guys is having an epic temper tantrum in a mall or just on the floor in my house, I’ll admit that I have absolutely no idea if I’m doing the right thing. Trust me; I’ve tried everything to calm tantrums. I just do what works best for us. Would every parenting “expert” agree with what I’m doing? Who knows? The fact is that there have been many times as a parent when theories and opinions have gone out the window – when my little guy broke his leg, when he didn’t start mimicking words or sounds at the normal time, and when he started being treated for a sensory processing disorder. You just have to do your best. And isn’t that what all of us are trying to do anyway?

At some point we all adopt a “theory” and we hope it’s the right one. On our tough days, if we get to bed time reasonably well fed (he’s eaten more than Goldfish and milk), reasonably clean (man, it’s hard to clean toddler fingernails), not bleeding (excessively), and happy (even after I’ve stopped him from destroying the house), we’re doing okay. Everything else is a bonus. It’s a good thing there are a lot of bonuses during the day, even tough ones. Especially the toddler hugs and kisses – just the sweetest bonuses of all.

I can only pray that God helps me raise this little boy to become a loving, caring, smart, and happy man. Over the last couple of weeks, the doubt started to creep in. Am I doing the right thing? Then on the playground, a little girl started to cry and my little guy reached out and touched her shoulder and asked if she was okay. I decided then and there that we’re doing fine, theories or not.