I've repeated this phrase since then, on many occasions. During the good, the bad, and even the mundane and pedestrian parts of my parenting journey. Parenthood can often feel like a desperate race through the "phases," always hurtling forward, always wishing this current phase was over, that the children would be more independent, less clingy, less messy, less fidgety, less screamy, less whiney.
It was an ordinary summer day. People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too. Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids' lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with a single word: autism.
Children are an incredible paradox. They bring so much joy, so many tender moments, so many blissful times when you're just enjoying them, and they're enjoying you, and you're laughing at something funny your toddler said, or something adorable your baby did. And then there's the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day you have to get through.
People, not parents, struggle to find the time and energy to do the things they know they should. Anyhow, it struck me that there are some things I can (and will!) blame my children for, cheerfully, and some things that I resolve I will not blame them for. I want them to know I can prioritise what's important for my own wellbeing, so that they can learn from me.
There are no secret dates no matter how hard you try. Turns out, my parents are kind of smart. I didn't want my dates to meet my parents because, well, I didn't want to have that awkward "let me introduce you to my mom" exchange. She asks everyone extremely personal questions. So I lied about my dates. Luckily, or unfortunately, (depending on your perspective) I didn't have to lie a lot.
My dearest little girl, sometimes I forget that you're only four years old. Actually, a month ago you were just three. Maybe I expect too much from you at times because you're a big sister now. Maybe it's because I just haven't taken the time and effort to see things from your bright little eyes. But my darling, I am slowly learning to do exactly this, and I'm sorry I sometimes forget.
With kids growing up surrounded by advertising, movies and TV, toys, books, and clothes that tell them that some things are for girls, and others are for boys, we're already fighting an uphill battle if our goal is to raise girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems, and boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition.
When the daughter you've been driving to ballet class every Saturday for 12 years tells you she wants to focus on the history of dance as her $20,000 a year university major, you might pause and point out the successful engineers you know. Most parents push academic over athletic when push comes to shove.
Here's what I have to say for those who worry their daughters might turn into princesses, as in helpless silly females who value the superficial only and have no problem-solving skills. Just don't be a princess yourself. Be assertive. Gain control over your emotions. Display strength and courage and resilience. Don't read women's magazines.
Teach your children well -- teach them about life and love and joy and sorrow. Teach them to be honest and kind. Teach them to be thoughtful and generous. Teach your children to care for others. Let your own life be the living textbook that your children read. May it be among the most inspiring books they ever open!
I was never the "good job" kind of mom. My two sons didn't get standing ovations for doing ordinary party tricks like learning to use the potty, eating broccoli or making their beds. Nope, I never subscribed to the theory that "good job" parenting would minimize their risk of becoming future psychopaths.
North Americans are presented with a vision of heavenly perfection in Swedish daycare but in reality, education outcomes are declining, teens are anxiety-ridden and misbehaving and the quality of parenting is suffering. Let's start with the ever deteriorating psychological health of Swedish youth, which has become a major concern in Swedish public debate today.
Somewhere along the way, we've adopted some goofy misguided idea that children's psyches are inherently, staggeringly fragile, prone to devastating and irreversible damage from any number of relatively benign phenomena -- like honour rolls, sporting activities where only the winning team gets a trophy, or track and field days with actual competition (oh, the horror!).
I am all for moms who don't take themselves too seriously -- who don't try too hard to be perfect and who accept themselves for who they are, warts and all. I am all for mothers who are 'people' first. Who love who they are and are proud to chase their dreams. Because sometimes we mamas just get lost in this parenting gig, and we wake up 25 years later and wonder who we are.
Caregivers do their best to guide parents as they struggle to talk with their children about cancer, but misunderstanding, denial, and apprehension often distort the communication process. Frustration and fear can build up as parents respond to their child's curiosity with hesitation. Parents must provide appropriate information about cancer to gain the confidence they need to do the best they can for their child.
My kids are the worst eaters. Really. Some people say this, and mean that their kids don't eat raw sushi, or whole wheat pasta, or offal. That's not what I mean. I mean that in my house, bacon is a food group. I mean that my kids don't eat pasta, period. I mean that they only accept pepperoni pizza from one delivery joint. It's serious.
Hey, parents: Don't sweat the small stuff. Even if you work full-time, bottle feed, don't buy organic food, and never threw your kids gigantic birthday bashes with elephant rides, as long as you are physically and emotionally present for your children -- and provide a safe, stable environment for them -- they'll be just fine.
If we want our own children to learn to be courageous defenders of rights, we must first engage them in thinking critically about those rights. While adults may feel uncomfortable talking to children about the place of religion in society, we can still teach our children that people whose beliefs and practices differ from their own are deserving of respect and understanding.
It's completely normal want to protect your kids when they come home crying because someone was blatantly mean to them. But isn't it true that dealing with these situations helps build character? And if they can't deal with these situations and only rely on us, aren't we setting them up for failure in the future?
We've all heard them. Those annoying phrases that our parents said to us growing up and now that we're parents ourselves, we've decided to inflict them our own kids. The reality is that the true meanings behind these messages that parents tell their kids are often not as straightforward as they appear to be. Following are the top 10 phrases that parents use on their kids, and what they really mean.
Buy your kids only the toys that you were deprived of as a child. For me, that was Star Wars. My childhood lightsaber was a cardboard wrapping paper tube. Two whacks and it went flaccid. My kids on the other hand have every lightsaber imaginable, from the telescopic cheapies, to official lightsaber replicas with authentic LucasFilm® sound effects. Sure they cry when I wallop them too hard, but painful is the path of the Jedi.