Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Parenting is Bipolar

Parenting is a bipolar job. It includes extreme highs and extreme lows and lots of moments in the middle. I mostly think I'm a pretty good mom, but I would be lying if I didn't tell you I second guess myself about something every day. Every single day at some point I wonder if I'm actually failing miserably as a mom.

I don't read parenting books or websites or generally listen to advice from others because every kid is different. Every parenting style is different. I truly think moms should scrap the advice and do whatever works for them. My kid is two and a half and still loves his pacifier. He won't forever. I'm not sweating that. 

I do sweat the fact that he's not a great eater. It's been the bane of my existence since we switched to solid foods. It's getting better after we saw a pediatric nutritionist. But I hate when people give me advice about feeding my kid. We've talked to the pediatrician. He's healthy. We've talked to the nutritionist. We're on a strict feeding schedule, and some days he eats like a champ. Some days he barely eats at all. And every day he still drinks a bottle of milk before bed. I look forward to the days when we're done with that bottle. I know it won't be forever. Sometimes it stresses me out, but it won't be like this for long. 

My kid is super talkative, he's a great traveler, he's funny, energetic, and sweet. Those are all part of the extreme highs. Then there are the lows. Every single day he fights me to get dressed, and by the time I get out the door some days I am desperate to crawl back into bed. He loves to be naked, and putting on clothes is our biggest fight. Sometimes he hits me when I make him do things he doesn't want to do. He watches more TV than I'd like. He rarely eats fruit or vegetables. Every single day these things worry me at some point. I think about one or a combination of these things and think I'm doing nothing right. 

Will is very active and loves running. I obviously encourage this interest because running is amazing. I ran a 5k on the 4th of July, and he was so excited to cheer on the runners. Last weekend I ran the Run for Fame 5k in downtown Lansing, a race we can walk to from our house. I've run it before, and it's a small and fun out and back course on the Lansing River Trail. 

It was my third 5k in as many weeks, and it was another really hot and humid race. I was faster than I was in Chicago (27:39) but still slow. But again I'm feeling like I'm getting back to myself. As I rounded the corner to the finish I saw my husband and son. My son was so excited, and he jumped onto the (basically empty) course to run to the finish with me. He was so excited and loved it so much. As we walked the 3/4 of a mile home he kept running and saying, "I'm so fast. You can't catch me Mom!" I love his passion for running. I don't always think I'm getting everything right, but on that moment in that day I felt like I was an amazing mom. Those highs make it all worth it. 

Post 5k running
We will screw our kid up like every parent does, and I will continue to doubt myself on a regular basis. But this job, even though it's bipolar, is the best job I've ever had. It's magical, and I wouldn't trade a moment (even the daily fights to get dressed). I waited a long time for this job, and the hard moments just make me appreciate the easier ones even more. Who knew the lows would be so sweet?

2 comments:

  1. I'm not a mom but I have watched my siblings (I'm the youngest of 9) and now my nieces and nephews try so hard to raise their children the best they can. And I know it's not the same being an aunt. But I see what you are talking about here every day. The daily struggles. The rollercoaster of good and bad days, weeks, minutes, months, etc. The fear of "breaking" or "wrecking" or "screwing up" their kids. It's wonderful that you recognize the joy in the good and the bad. And when you save money for your son's future... just remember that he can use it for college or therapy. ;)

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  2. I love parenting. It's one of my favorite things. The lows are starting to be very different fights than they used to be, and so watching that development from 10,000 feet is beautifully interesting, despite how vexing it is.

    I agree: parenting is bipolar. Ups and downs every day. Interesting that the downs are becoming inconsistent, and some downs are very very consistent.

    I worry every single day that I'm not doing enough. "I shoulda..." is a part of my daily self-flagellation. But then I look at how happy and well-adjusted my meatheads are, and I feel pretty good in balance.

    Nice parenting! You're a fine mom. I'm probably a fine dad. We got this! We do indeed screw up our kids in some minor way; perfect parenting is unattainable, stressful, and filled with fear; I think we've talked before that What To Expect When You're Expecting should be banned by any sane person...

    Anyway. Go team.

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