I love my parents and I think they did an amazing job raising my sister and me. Yet, since pregnancy, I have constantly agonized over the decisions I made (I know, par for the course) and the type of parent I wanted to be. Even now, I could read a million and one books and talk for hours on end with anyone, with the patience to listen, on different parenting philosophies and where I fall.
The crazy thing is, my whole pre-motherhood life, I swore I would not take parenting “too seriously”. I would just “wing it”, because that was basically the advice I was given. I thought the parents who planned for everything were silly and I would know better.
Of course, I could write a list a mile long filled with ideas I had about parenthood a few years ago that I wish I could go back in time and slap myself for now (here’s a great post I just read on that subject), but this thought, believe it or not, does not make that list.
In retrospect on the past year, I do think I was being a little silly. I think trying to plan for everything was a nice thought, but not realistic because this world is unpredictable (i.e. the value of the house we bought in CO three years ago PLUMMETING).
I had a nice long conversation with the grandfather of a three year old at the park today about the “good ol’ days” (which he admitted, were mostly so “good” because they were young) where people did not feel like they had to prepare for everything. They did not feel the pressure to own a house or have every “convenience” on the market. They just fell in love, got married, and got cracking in the kids department.
That does not mean I regret all the stressing and planning that went into preparing for Dylan’s arrival. It also does not mean that people should just decide to have kids because there is nothing better to do. I simply think the perfectionistic approach to parenting is naive.
So what kind of mother am I? I am sure it is too early to tell but I hope, one day, my son will tell my husband and me that we were a consistent and stabilizing force, a source of serene confidence, and an overall reliable, loving, understanding, and nurturing anchor for our family. I want that because THAT defines the kind of parents who raised me. And that is what really matters to me.