Sunday, September 15, 2019

Here's To Breaking All My Parenting Rules

Tonight I raise my glass (actually my can of Naturdays because I'm that sophisticated) to doing all the things I said I'd never do as a parent. This is for every ounce of formula my middle child drank because I was too mentally and physically exhausted that I dropped my 'breast is best' thinking. This is for our incredibly amazing public school educated children, who were going to be my private school, uniform wearing babies. This is for bringing my child McDonald's at parent lunch instead of the homemade vegan lunch I had prepared. This is for swearing my children would be in high school before getting their first cell phone as I watch my eleven year old respond to a text (from his grandparents).

Last week I broke my rule of no cell phones, no screens (other than the approved family TV), and more outside time. My oldest sat on his newly purchased Chromebook (because, as it turned out, trying to share my laptop and returning emails wasn't working out) for three hours doing math lessons for the week and looking things up on Google while his new cell phone sat on the table a few feet from him. Every belief, every rule I had, was left behind when I realized life would be easier with these things.

One thing I quickly realized, the most important thing about motherhood actually, is survival. Our goal is to keep our kids alive, ourselves alive, and if we're rally lucky, happy as well. I personally thrive on happiness; mine and my children's.

The first week of middle school (for my oldest) kicked my ass. Not his, mine. As the school year got underway, I realized how big this change was. When we (parents) received class expectations and how we could support our new middle schooler at home, coupled with a few situations it would have been helpful to simply send a text to my child, I made the tough calls. Well, tough calls for me, since I had to let go of what I wanted and face what was needed.

I had wanted my children to grow up in a world without a cell phone attached to them, of handwritten cursive papers, and running around the neighborhood with friends. For the most part, my children have had a good part of these experiences. However, I also realize this is not our world. Heck, my child's math class is done completely online. Those math assignments, the need for use of my laptop (at the same time I needed to be using it), and the comfort I would feel if I were able to get in touch with my oldest, when combined, made me drop some money on these newly needed items.

I created rules for these new items. Some bring me comfort about leaving behind my beliefs and wants for my children and other rules I created are for safety. If I don't think about the insane amount of money I dropped on my children last week (new clothes, toys, money for picture day, a Chromebook, new cell phone -- along with a brand new higher cell phone bill, extracurricular activities) I'm pleased that these simple (yet at the same time complicated) items bring ease into our lives. Survival is a powerful mode. I'll do anything to fight for survival and happiness....even if means second guessing and changing my "never will I ever..." beliefs.

Learning how to use the Chromebook while watching the evening news. It must have been an entertaining news report.