Parenting & “shades of gray” thinking- and no I am not referencing the movie

Screenshot_20190425-130431_Instagram.jpgSome parents see things as black or white. It’s either this or that.  No in between.  Others see things as gray.. a little blended area where both can be “understood”.

I am more of a “seeing things as gray” parent. I used to think that was my superpower.  I believed that I was kinda special because I could see both sides of most stories so I was able to understand where people on opposing sides were coming from.

I still think it’s a pretty good quality. I really do— but sometimes, I wish I could just be ” a black or white” thinker.  Especially most recently and definitely when it comes to my role as mom and decision maker for my children. Does this mean that I am going to change who I am or change my thinking? Not necessarily- just stay with me here as I try to explain.

I am a truster. I trust everyone immediately until they give me a reason not to. And then sometimes I still trust them. Yup, I am that fool.  As a parent, many moms think I am crazy. And maybe I am.  I know that times have changed. I know we no longer live in the days where parents sent their kids outside to play right after breakfast and didn’t see them again until the streetlights were coming on and it was time for dinner.  I know this. And I know that even when I was growing up, some kids didn’t experience this kind of ignorant, naive freedom or have parents that were extremely liberal with things like playing outside. I don’t necessarily feel that because the world has changed, that I have to change my thinking. So– I send my kids to the park that is down the corner and out of my view. And these kids are 7 and 9.  I do not worry that someone is going to snatch them up in plain sight, but I am aware that it is possible.  I just struggle with feeling like I can’t give my kids the sense of some “freedom” because of fear that I have.  They know the rules about strangers and what my expectations are so I try to let them spread their wings.

I allow my kids to attend sleepovers.  Yup, I know- that is something that a lot of people disagree with and I know exactly where those feelings come from as well.  And while I respect them, I don’t follow those same guidelines.  I am not afraid that by letting my child sleep at a friends house or play at a friends house that a parent may be inappropriate towards them . Do I know that this is possible? Do I know that many frown upon this? Yes I do— and does that change my way of thinking? Not in the slightest. And when my children have friends that have parents that believe this way, I make sure my children understand that these beliefs MUST be respected always even if they do not understand the reasons behind them.

I do not assume that every adult male is out to do something horrible to my daughters so I allow my daughters to go places with their friends even if only the father is present.  Am I possibly setting my children up for something bad to happen? Possibly, but I will not stop doing what I believe is right.  Am I putting my child in harm’s way? I sure as hell hope not, but understand the risk I am taking.  Will people frown upon my decisions? Abso-freakin-lutely! And are they entitled to? Abso-freakin-lutely!  And because of that, I understand why, if I am not home and my husband is that they may not allow their child over to my house or to pick their child up even if my daughter is in the car as well.  I may not believe the same way, but I respect the different way of thinking.  And I would never shame another parent because of their beliefs or rules in parenting.

I respect and understand the notion that my way of thinking surrounding being a parent and how I raise my children may cause some to not want me to look after their children. And believe me when I tell you, I get it and chances are, I don’t want to look after your children anyway.  And I understand that because of my actions and beliefs, you may not want your child to interact with mine… and you know what- that is okay also.  Hopefully you don’t think my kid is a jerk, but if you do- you are entitled. I think they are all jerks sometimes too.

Because of this,  well- I feel like I may have always known this, but neither one of us thinkers are wrong. I may be more conflicted, because I DO understand both sides- yes, but not necessarily wrong. I may be a complete whack job and naive according to your beliefs, but not necessarily wrong. My thoughts and views may not fit in to someone else’s lifestyle, but not necessarily wrong.

I want my kids to grow up understanding that people have different thoughts and opinions.  I want them to know AND understand that when they are with their friends and their friends have different thoughts or rules, that these all need to be respected. I want them to understand that their friends, while possibly different thinkers, are not wrong. They do not need to be changed.  They need to be heard and honored for their beliefs and staying true to them.  And I want them to expect the same back from the people they spend their time with.  I have no clue if I want my children to be black and white thinkers or shades of gray thinkers.  I guess it isn’t my decision at all anyway.  I want them to use their experiences, research, and knowledge to lead their thought process in all areas of life and to stand true to what they believe is right… even when others disagree.  And I want them to be honest when they are feeling conflicted and express their concerns in hopes of gaining more insight in making a more knowledgeable decision.

I want to have this same method of thinking as a parent.  Parenting is already a hard and not always rewarding job.  It is something that I do not take lightly.  I think it is even harder, when other parents feel that they are doing everything exactly right and assume that anyone not doing it the same way is automatically wrong.  Us parents, we are a judgy group of people. We all have the same goal in raising our kids to be decent people(or so I assume) but our methods of doing it can often clash.

Let me be clear— there are certainly some things that I have more of a “black and white” approach with.  Things like being disrespectful, my thoughts on bringing home decent grades, doing what I say the first time you are told, etc. And let me tell you- my thoughts behind these things are STRONG and I expect what I expect, no questions asked– something that has made people look at me like I am the worst mom ever

Please know that I say all of this as someone who has been called a horrible parent and a phenomenal parent by some of the same people. To my face and behind my back at times.  I am known as Satan by one of my own children and one of her friends.  It is what it is.  I am not out here trying to win mom of the year- I am strictly trying to just survive parenthood and make it through only mildly bruised. Many times I am definitely NOT making the best parenting choices and other times, I KNOW I am killing the parenting game.  I don’t really think that I need validation on my parenting any longer– I really just need for my kids to grow up and not be assholes….

See what I mean about the shades of gray thing?

In all things find beauty,

MRC

Entering 36 and the upcoming journey…

Three weeks ago I turned 36.  I remember being a child and honestly feeling like a new, more mature person with each birthday morning.  Now- not so much.  I never mind my birthdays. The idea of getting older is actually exciting to me. I don’t tend to look at getting older as something cringe worthy.  It actually excites me- well, at least for now.

I woke up that morning and felt good. Well I was still a little sore from a yoga class I took 2 days prior… but all in all… I felt great!  And now three weeks in, I still feel great. I am confident that 36 will be just as enlightening that 35 was.  As we were getting closer to this particular day, I did start to think about the past 365 days and how I have grown through them.

My mindset has certainly shifted. Entering my 35th year, I was still living for other people.  Saying the things that people want to hear in order to not hurt them. Supporting things that I did not believe were right, because I felt that is what I was supposed to do.. Not moving forward towards opportunities or towards the things I want because I knew they would be difficult or I didn’t want to hear from naysayers.

Over the past year, I have slowly began to just be honest- not the brutal honest kind that is hurtful and disrespectful, but just gentle honesty that most people respect and some people just need.  I no longer support things (financially, emotionally, etc) that I do not agree with. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t honest before… It was more that I didn’t say certain things because I knew that they weren’t what people wanted to hear or because I knew that it may hurt them. 


I want 36 to be even more different. I want to be more adventurous and more myself. For years I had been an impostor- like my true self had been hidden because I was busy trying to fit in to little groups and be the right person for each group that I was a part of, work-family-friends, etc.  That is a scary realization and one that I worked hard on fixing over the past 2-3 years.  I don’t think that we are ever just one thing and that is what makes humans amazing creatures.
I want to experience life this year. You know, really experience it. Try something new once a month. Whether it be a new book, a new place, a new food. The world is full of so much and I want to take in all it has to offer. 

I started school AGAIN(for the 3rd time) at age 35 therefore for 36, my only goal related to this is to not quit. (We all know I am a chronic quitter- they really should make an award for this) I am not due to get my Bachelor’s degree (finally) until well into my 37th, so it is imperative that I work hard through 36.   I don’t want to float through this age, but to sashay down the runway that is age 36. I will put more focus on writing and less focus on talking about writing while not actually doing it. I will say NO when I don’t want to and begin to follow through with my YES’s. I will honor myself by taking time for me and not feeling selfish for it. I will no longer look for validation from the outside but instead from the inside of my soul.

36 will be the year that I will recognize my POWER. My power as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as a student, as a writer, etc. And I will use that power to rise above my fear and my inconsistencies.

I am going to work hard to not compare myself to others as often as this is something I do always. I am not as disciplined as this person, not as motherly as that one. I am not has organized as so and so. I will work hard to eliminate these thoughts and to understand that in my power, I find my strength and my worth.

I will no longer tell myself that it is too late to change  my parenting tactics and just begin to make the necessary tweaks to help my family and my relationships with my kids stronger, regardless of my children’s ages. I will hold certain expectations for my home and how my home is run and I will no longer allow others to impede on these. 

I will focus on using my voice and words to build others up and stop tearing people down. I am going to work hard at making my conversations be less about criticizing other people and more about praising them instead. When praise cannot be found, I will simply stay quiet if my words cannot be beneficial. 

My theme for 36 will be INTENTION. I will aim to be more intentional. I will make decisions rationally and boldly. I will be confident in who I am. I will honor myself and my family and focus on teaching my kids the importance of being confident and true to your word.

I am beginning to realize that while age 35 was the year of realization, age 36 is going to be the year of execution. Let’s get this party started!!

In all things find beauty, 

MRC