Like you, I too thought I knew everything there was to know about parenting. Naturally that was before I actually became a parent!
I was also NEVER going to let my kids do this or do that. I too was going to raise the perfect specimens. I had also never read the book ”What To Expect 16 Years After Expecting”.
Being so totally OCD, and hence such a control freak (the worst candidate for a parent by the way), I was so sure my methodical and routine lifestyle was going to hold me in good stead. I had a plan! Boy how naive was I?? There were three unexpected moments that emerged in my “perfect” child rearing plan.
Now for those of you who, like me, make plans for my plans, you will know that when something does not go according to your plan, or your plan of your plan, life becomes very scary.
Over the years, we see character and personality traits (and flaws) in our children that we identify as either ours, or our spouses. “He got that from me”, “he got that from you”, and even “he got that from my side of the family”. In fact, we learn a lot about ourselves by observing our childrens’ traits. Sometimes that lesson is a bit of a shocker! Of course, we try and nip those nasty little buggers in the bud. Try save our little drops of mercury from the same fate that we endured learning all those little life lessons!! Just a heads up..…..not possible!
But it’s that moment (moment number one), where we realise that our little drops of mercury actually have their OWN traits. Horrors of horrors, how dare they?? How is that even possible? We made them! Surely to goodness they can ONLY have what we passed down to them? Nope! The little nutters have their very own traits. This then becomes a huge concern, as the parent who was going to ensure all the negative traits were going to be eradicated before any damage could be done….. what now? How am I supposed to know how in the crazy, cross eyed world, am I supposed to eradicate that of which I have not experienced first hand??
Not sure if you, like me, have anxiety attacks when you have to hand over your control…..to an underage, blank slate, that you were supposed to be designing, no less!!
There it is…the second moment, where you realise that your offspring has actually managed to navigate this trait all by himself. No help required from you! What is your purpose then? How were my knowledge and skill not required in this situation?? This is unacceptable! I am redundant! What now?? Well, once you have realised that your services are no longer required….you can only sit back, and observe the process. It doesn’t always go as smoothly as you wish for your kids. But navigate they do!
Moment number three, is when you realise that, actually, you don’t play as big a role moulding these little people as you would like to think. In fact when they really watch and learn from your behaviour, is when you least want them to! But your job is actually to give them as much love, understanding and guidance as you can, while they discover their strengths and weaknesses all on their own. Oh…..food and shelter….yes you also need to give them food and shelter!