Parenthood is ripe with hypocrisy.
We say we’ll never do that and then we do precisely whatever that is (and then some).
We make rules and then we break them. And then we make them again.
We take Legos apart with our teeth and say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” (I don’t know about you, but this happens to me a lot.)
There is nothing concrete about this journey. Nothing. In fact, it’s quite slippery. It’s a slippery, slimy, perilous slope of:
I never thought I’d do that.
Just this once!
How did we end up here?
In an essay about coping with picky eaters, I wisely suggested to put blinders on. To stop comparing your kid to other kids. To stop wishing or hoping for him to be different, blend in, or make sense. To accept who he is and embrace his quirks, flaws, strength, talent, spirit, and determination. To marvel at his awesome humanness.
It’s a good strategy. Now here comes the hypocrisy.
If I have blinders on, I can’t see that my kid isn’t the only one who doesn’t like to eat. I can’t see that he isn’t the only one who gets nervous around kickball and struggles with homework. I can’t see that he isn’t the only one who doesn’t enjoy reading and is disorganized.
Blinders serve a well-intentioned purpose, but they hide what we need the most on this wild ride – perspective and assurance that we’re not alone. With blinders on, we can’t see that we’re standing to the right of a parent whose kid also shies away from sports, to the left of a parent whose kid hits when he’s over-stimulated, in front of a parent whose kid’s shoes are always untied, and behind a parent whose kid is exceptionally clingy. We can’t see that we’re swimming in a sea of parents who are doing things they never thought they’d do, making and breaking rules, and pulling Legos apart with their teeth.
Marvel at your child until his quirks, flaws, strength, talent, spirit, and determination are permanently imprinted in your brain and heart. Do it until your eyes hurt, everything is blurry, and you feel lost, unsure, scared and alone. Then, remove your blinders. Get rid of them. It’s okay to look away, focus your attention elsewhere, and give your eyes a break. It’s important. It’s healthy. It’s a relief! Rest assured, you’ll know when it’s time to put them back on because the one thing that is concrete about this journey is that good, loving, sensible, and sane parenting is ripe with hypocrisy.
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7 responses to “Parents are Hypocrites! (Obviously)”
Wait – there are other people in the world?
I didn’t believe it at first either.
I am learning that this is a tough one – I am currently on the obsessing end of the spectrum…I could probably use some, well, if not blinders, then sunglasses.
Kids are just like adults. Everyone’s got something. Sunglasses are a good idea. Then you can see all the kids throwing sand. 🙂
Oh my goodness, yes! Some days I just don’t want to look around, but then you see that there are other people struggling, too.
I remember when my son was little and I used to say that he would only eat organic food. Now I’m packing Lunchables in his lunch at school. I’m not guilting myself about it and I’m accepting my son for who he is, quirks and all. Also, I never realized how quietly judgmental I was of other parents before having my own. I judge no longer and I’m a better parent, teacher, and human being for it.
You’ve really captured all the estnseials in this subject area, haven’t you?