5.29.2011

Doing the best you can with the knowledge you have.

When I was in highschool, I was lucky to have a lot of very caring and supportive teachers in my life. Some of them would care from a distance, while others would truly get to know me and talk to me about what I was going through. I was blessed to have all these angels around me when I needed them most.

Once, I recall a conversation with a teacher when I was venting about having parents who didn't understand what I was going through (cliche, I know) and said all the wrong things. She then told me a bit about her life growing up, and she said- "But they were doing the best they knew how with the knowledge that they had. I took what I learned from them and decided what kind of a parent I wanted to be." She was/is an amazing mother, with an amazing relationship with her daughter.

This really stuck with me. My parents weren't bad at parenting (raising a teenager is not easy now days), but I realized then that all you have to work with is the knowledge that you have at hand- so when you don't get it right, it's not usually an intentional mistake. I think this taught me to be a lot more loving and forgiving towards my parents too (they are humans after all!).

We all have this idea of how we are going to parent our best and do our best- whether or not we know it yet.
We are going to get our kids shots, or not.
Going to brush their teeth before they even pop through.
We are going to never let them eat candy.
We are going to make sure they eat exactly what is recommended.
We are going to be the best at discipline.
We are going to be the most loving.
We are going to homeschool, public school, take them to sunday school, take them to parks, put them in preschool, put them in groups with other babies their age to develop their skills, not work so we can be with them all of the time, teach them to self soothe...


But when you find yourself sitting on the couch, your child blissfully sucking on a sucker- watching veggie tales on television (that you never were going to let them watch till they were 12), and wondering if they got enough nutrients to count as a well balanced diet from that piece of chicken you managed to squeeze in between the potato wedges and chocolate milk....

Somehow you realize that being a parent is a lot more difficult than just making the right 'apparent' decisions.

When Judah eats something- and enjoys it- it melts my heart. Not just melts my heart... It gives me joyful delight- even if it's an oatmeal cookie and he wouldn't eat his gerber food... I am so happy that he is eating something that I want to do a dance.

Can you imagine feeling like that every time your kid eats? Because man, it makes eating a lot more fun. When I don't have to force in as many bites as I can get of his chicken broth with carrots and peas- this feeling of pure happiness fills my mind.

It is wonderful.

When I went into parenting, I knew that breast feeding was the best for a baby and I was so excited to be one of those breast feeding Mom's who was doing the best thing for their child.

Little did I know- that I didn't know anything about what being Judah and Gabriel's Mommy was going to be like.

I KNEW that babies should be introduced to solid foods after 6 months- little did I know I would be feeding Judah rice cereal or carrots at 3 months, just trying to get him to eat ANYTHING.

I KNEW all sorts of things that I had envisioned (after all the normal babies in our families with no complexities)... And my knowledge vanished with no trace of returning.

Being a parent isn't about knowing the right thing to do for a baby. It's about knowing the right thing to do for your baby, or at least doing the best with what you have.

No one has your child. That's why it's your child. No one gets to or has to make the difficult and life changing decisions that you have to make.

So before you think you are going crazy trying to schedule naps at the perfect times or do everything exactly the way it says in the parenting books-

Keep in mind- we are unique.

Just like some of us are going to have happy little chubby babies who breast feed like leeches and hit all the growth marks- never get sick- always reach their expected goals..

We are going to have babies who don't want to eat because something is wrong, who scream every time you try to put anything in their mouth, who need heart surgery, who are a little slower to the milestones than other babies, who hang out in the doctors office for a pass-time..

Hang in there- because as long as you are giving it your best effort- doing the best with the information and the experience you have.. You are doing pretty amazing :)

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