Growing Up with My Kids

Until my kids were old enough to compare me to their friend’s moms, they thought I was normal. But it became more evident that I was kind of a freak when they’d return from play dates and question my rigid, military style mothering—especially since I'd never been in the military.

In my defense, I fixed healthy meals, read them lots of children’s stories, played games, purchased educational toys, all while reading tons of parenting advice books. But I couldn’t seem to prevent myself from using my parent’s tactics.

My Early Years
I learned how to be a freakish parent from my own parents—who were both freaks. Good freaks, but freaks, none-the-less. My Air Force dad was a clean freak. Saturday mornings were relegated to laundry and housecleaning. Throughout the week chores were done according to a schedule. Doesn’t everybody make his/her bed before breakfast? 

My mom was the book freak—she was a librarian after all. I was the little kid who routinely took a book for show and tell. And books were how my mom explained EVERYTHING. Why talk when there was a book or article that said it all?

So, when it was my turn at parenting, I was this military-bookish mixture that blended rigid routines with instructional books—everything from learning to read to potty training. As my kids got older the routines and books became age-appropriate. For the teen years there was the Black Book of Dating and a strict curfew. That was my style. Oh my.

Mom Is Very Mean

Parenting is humbling—at least it was for me. I’ve kept this picture as a reminder of one of my “Fail” parenting moments from long ago—Mom is Very Mean

How often did I not appreciate their efforts, but instead saw only the imperfections?  

Thankfully my kids weren’t the only ones growing up—I was too.

Maybe parenting is meant to be humbling. We discover just how challenging it is (and how challenging it must have been for our parents too). Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be—one big, long opportunity to learn as our kids grow and we grow too. Looking back, I learned so much growing up a second time and had the most amazing teachers—my kids. 

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