Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Marathon Parenting

There are several other 'mom' blogs that I follow and enjoy seeing how other people make parenting decision.

One of them just had her second child, her oldest is about two and a half. She is a stay at home mom and is trying to balance the needs of a newborn with the needs of her daughter who is very used to having her mom's undivided attention. To say I'm taking notes would be an understatement.

Another has seven children, the youngest is pretty close in age to my Baby A. I find her to be truly amazing. Following her blog has definitely helped me realize that messing up is part of parenting but also that sometimes the things that seem big, really aren't and your attitude towards the situation determines a lot towards the outcome.

I love Real Simple Magazine (yes this segue leads somewhere) and have subscribed for years but once a year, usually around this time, they put out a Real Simple Family issue that is not mailed to subscribers and is one I will pick up in the grocery line when I see it has come out. I picked up this year's issue yesterday and haven't sat down to really read it yet, but have read the Editor's Note.

This year the main articles and studies are focused on 'Helicopter Parenting'. I had to google it the first time I heard it used, which was by the mom in the first blog I mentioned. I think it's basically it's where you hover over your child and follow/direct their every step.

There's also another parenting trendy name that's something like Cottonwool Parenting, where you overly protect your children from any real or imagined threat or potential danger. I don't quite know where the separation is on those two but the mom in blog 2 mentioned that particular parenting method.

I haven't read the articles in the Real Simple issue this month but am definitely interested to see where/if/how I fall into this category. I don't think I hover, and in fact, I usually watch Baby A teeter on the edge of the couch or bed as she attempts to rearrange toys without realizing how close to the edge she is and not say a word. If she falls, she'll learn. But there are probably some things that I do that would be considered part of the HP issue.

All that being said. I would like to propose my own brand of trendy parenting styles.

Marathon Parenting.

This is where you realize parenting is really, really hard work. It mostly sucks. It takes way more effort, time and will power than you expected and there's no letting up. If you stop 'training' it all backslides immediately.

But once you get to a point where you start seeing results:

Your children say 'please' and 'thank you' appropriately without coaching.
Your children can walk into and out of a store without pitching fits, throwing tantrums or begging mercilessly for something.
The table next to you at a restaurant compliments you on your well behaved children during a meal.
They come home with a great report card.
They excel at (or just thoroughly enjoy) a sport, hobby or activity.
They smile, hug, and say 'I love you' all on their own.
They apologize when they've done something wrong and realize it on their own.

Those moments, those real results from all the hard work, sweat and tears, that's what makes it worth it. And whatever method of parenting you subscribe to, it just doesn't matter when, at the end of the day you have happy, healthy children.

That's Marathon Parenting. Keeping the end goal in sight and knowing that getting there is not going to be fun or easy, but it's worth it.

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