Do you remember the days before you had children? I do... well, kind of. I do remember some of my ideas about what being a good parent meant, and I could definitely spot a good parent from a bad one at the grocery store... easy! I recall thinking, "My kids will NOT act like that!" Oh, don't worry... all of you parents that I judged so harshly - I got mine. Karma makes sure to handle people that think that way, eventually.
What I thought made a good parent back then sort of escapes me today. I can't remember exactly what things I thought earned you a badge of honor, but I definitely have my hang-ups today that I use to judge myself.
1. Clean Kids
If we go out in public and my kids have junk on their faces, stains on their clothes, or mud on their shoes... oh I just cringe! I don't know why.. kids get dirty. At home I couldn't care less if they get gritty and disgusting outside playing. They just need to change clothes and wipe down big time before we go anywhere.
2. Clean House
This has always been a big time issue for me. To my detriment in the past. If my house wasn't REALLY clean I did not feel like a good mother. Thankfully, today I have a much better balance of a clean house and a lived in home, but that nagging feeling still gets me if certain things aren't taken care of. If the floors aren't clean, the dishes are not done, and laundry isn't caught up, I can feel myself getting stressed like I'm not doing a good job in that area. The good news is that now the oldest two kids help a lot with housework, so this is easier to accomplish without me working like an insane person.
3. Healthy Food
I probably worry too much about what my kids eat. I mean, of course healthy kids should be any parents top priority.. but there have been times in the past that seeing my kids eat a slice of pizza or greasy fries would send my stomach into knots. Madison wasn't allowed to eat ANY junk food until she was about 2 years old. She wouldn't even eat her birthday cake on her first birthday because she had never experienced something so beautifully sweet. I've definitely swayed more to the "middle ground" on this now, but it's still something that's very important to me that they eat mostly healthy foods. If they don't, I honestly feel like I'm failing at a major part of parenting.
4. Good Manners
Can I just say that when an adult asks one of my kids a question and they answer with a, "yeah" or "no" or worse... a head nod or shake with no words... my eyes get wide and I want to smack them in the back of the head like my mom probably did to me. Then my attachment parenting ways kick in and I clasp my hands together and lean down and remind them how they SHOULD respond, "Yes mam..." "No sir.." After so many YEARS of stressing this to them it aggravates me to no end to have to ever remind them. Especially Madison - she'll be 9 years old this summer. Get with the program, girl!
If they don't use their manners, as a southern mommy, I just want to crawl in a hole somewhere.
"Do they think I don't teach them to say that?" "Do they think I don't expect respect at home?" Oh the shame... I've heard that in the North kids aren't expected to say sir or mam... lucky parents...
5. Overdue Hair Cuts
This is only with the boys. Moms of boys - did you have any idea how often they would need their hair cut? Geez! If their hair starts to just barely grow over their ears... it kind of drives me crazy. I must get it trimmed IMMEDIATELY. I guess this could go in the same category of not wanting anyone to see them dirty. "Does it make me look bad if they don't look perfect?" Let's be honest.. that's the thought process behind this!
These are just 5 silly things that I still use to judge myself on my meter of mom-hood. Silly really. What should matter is so simple. Are my kids healthy, happy, well-adjusted, respectful, and heading in the direction of becoming stable adults that will make a difference in this world? If yes, then hooray! That's really the sign of a good parent, isn't it?
Am I the only one with these types of ridiculous standards for myself?