It’s starts at birth, your tiny and beautiful infant will only nurse on the left breast. You tried different positions, the football hold, the cross cradle and even the nipple guard but still he cries and fights each time you put him on the right side.
You worry, you know that this will affect your long term supply, you know that each time he refuses that breast, he is telling your body not to make the liquid that is giving him life. He doesn’t know that, but that doesn’t change things.
As they get older it changes, your little 9 year old daughter refuses to brush her teeth at night. You tell her over and over “You’re going to get cavities, your teeth are going to fall out!” She ignores you, before bed she pretends to brush her teeth while lip-singing Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” in the mirror and letting the faucet water run. She isn’t concerned that you have to pay a $200 co-pay to get one cavity filled.
Next you have a teenager, a bright 16 year old, college bound. She’s got a 3.7 g.p.a and is the star forward on the soccer team, only she had unprotected sex with her boyfriend and she’s 4 months pregnant. You told her she could come to you when she was ready to have sex, you gave her birth control and left condoms in her sock drawer just in case. Still, she didn’t use them. You know she isn’t ready to be a mother, you also know that YOU are ultimately responsible for the well being of the tiny human growing inside her sprightly body.
Just before you have your first kid people tell you things like:
” Kiss your sleep goodbye”
” You don’t know patience until you become a parent”
” It’s the the hardest but most rewarding job you will ever do”
and all of that is true. What no one told me was…
” The hardest thing about being a parent, is being responsible for someone you can’t control”
If you’re an honest parent you know that you can’t control your children. If you’re a kind parent you don’t even want to control them (most of the time). None of that, however changes the fact that almost all of their decisions and the consequences of those decisions will come back to you.
If they lose their library book at five, YOU pay for it.
If they are failing their classes at eleven because they are missing assignments, the teacher calls YOU.
If they don’t eat vegetables and start gaining weight at sixteen, the doctor asks YOU about their diet.
The dilemma is INFURIATING, it’s stressful, and painful in a emotional way that causes tears to roll quietly down my cheeks. It also causes me to wonder, ” AM I DOING IT ALL WRONG?”
I’m not one of those people who believe that every parent does his/her best, that’s a lie and I can’t point out about a zillion examples that show people utterly failing at parenting. Not failing in a “haha Facebook Meme” way, but failing in a DCFS, neglect, and child abuse way.
But I am one of those people, who reads literature, believes in and takes heed to statistical evidence and research, takes parenting classes, and seeks wise counsel and with all of that, I still feel like maybe it’s not enough. In just this moment, I know it’s not. Nothing I do as mother will guarantee me a responsible, courageous, thoughtful, careful, kind or compassionate child. The only thing I was guaranteed was a Love indescribable.
That’s the trade off. I gave up control,
control of destiny,
control of decisions,
and control of consequences.
I surrendered all of that power, in exchange for LOVE.
In the moments when I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, I’m failing, I’m frustrated and I’m crying, I fall back on that LOVE and dust myself and try again.