Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Quest of a Stress Free, Heart & Soul-Fulfilling Parenting

“Every mother must have a subscription to “Parents Magazine”. Really?  I’m pretty sure that the fellow mommy that I once heard saying this had the best intentions at heart.  And to be honest with you I kind of thought about jotting it on my “to do” list for a while.  Then I forgot.  Then my mothering days taught me differently.  I thank God, I learned this early! So, that's why I want to talk about all these “things” that sometimes are sold as must haves in the parenting journey, but along the way become more of a burden than a joy.

Mom, are you sure I don't look too old fashioned? =P

Let me then, for purposes of illustrating my point, elaborate on my magazine example.  I know a magazine may look very inoffensive, and can sometimes even provide leisure or some tips to ease up certain house chores, problems or what not. However, I don’t know if I am the only one that, on top of finding difficult to have the time to make it from cover to cover, also finds it difficult to find the memory or energy to keep up with all the good ideas and new products available.  I know most of you know that the marketing people just want to make us believe that there’s a problem where we haven’t seen it, and then, there is a product or idea that perfectly solves it.  But of course the money-time transaction has to happen, if you really want to fix that problem.  Then we’re supposed to feel like better parents, keeping up with the times and the new developments - NOT.

So mom, are you sure you took your class on how to teach me to eat my eggs?

You will probably laugh at the bottles that I use with Garrick. After falling into the trap of getting the best, more techy bottle available, he rejected one after the other, and ended up sticking with the most simple and inexpensive type, -Of course the bottle was always in second place after mommy’s milk with its built- in bottle =) ..Til today, when we’re working on weaning him from it.
For sure mom, I read in a mag that I'm ready to get my driver license!

And even though my example refers to a specific product; this type of “keeping in step with the latest” mentality naturally permeates other parenting areas like views on education, discipline, playtime, etc.  I think that today’s culture, aided by the media, is trying to impose the idea that parenthood is a more complicated thing than it really is.  I am not saying that parenting is a simple thing.  Nor am I saying that parenting education shouldn’t be important for a successful and fruitful upbringing.  Like any other occupation, we parents have lots to learn.  But my concern is with the myriad of products and ideas that are just unnecessary to raise our children to the vision we have for them.
Daddy, are you sure you're certified to teach me to float?..I don't think children in generations before swam..

A perfect example of this is shown in “Nursery University” , recommended by my friends from A couple of dreamers blog.  This is a documentary showing how couples in Manhattan go thru a very dramatic and sometimes even uncivilized odyssey to get their children into preschools that promise to be the right start to ensure top college acceptance. Yes, you read right, from preschool to college!  Of course we are talking about $20K+ for tuition at these exclusive preschools.  As extravagant as it may sound, this seems to be the reality of that city, and I am pretty sure that many other parents try to push all sort of programs, products and ideas into their children lives so that they can later perform to the expectations of our present culture.  But is this what we really should want? I personally think not.  
See, I have my very own "Abuelita" working on my very first haircut..I don't think any amount of Disney can't make it any more special!..Not matter what the magazine says!

I don’t think parenthood should be an endeavor to become a super-parent raising a super-child, which would be the expected result of always taking the “right decisions” and “having the right information”.  I’ve actually learned in my short mothering experience, that parenthood actually takes continuous adjustment.  Becoming a good parent, actually takes making some mistakes, learning from them and “growing forward”. Any other pretense, would actually makes us feel short of our ideal view of us as parents and, as a result, would create a self-fulfilling prophecy that would make us insecure and maybe more prone to making wrong parenting decisions.
Mind you momma, I need my driver license..

Now I am not saying that we are going to use our children as lab rats and do all kind of uninformed experiments with them being oblivious to any repercussions.  Of course not.  But what I mean, is that having the best intentions at heart for our children and genuinely trying to learn and be wise about what we do and teach our children, should naturally lead us to be good parents.  A good combination of genuine concern, good counsel and parental instinct, all under God’s grace, should suffice to make the parenting experience a positive one not only for the child but also for the parent.  
Daddy I don't think you went to your parenting class yesterday..I'm not ready to ride on my own yet..

The researchers from Freakeconomics , An interesting book/documentary, put it this way: “It’s not the 10 books on parenting that are going to make your child any better, but the fact that you’re the kind of parent that would go and get 10 books to learn”.  What they meant is that an inquiring mind crossed with genuine good intentions should be enough to be a good parent, and you shouldn’t freak out about not having all the knowledge there is about parenting.  They also made an interesting comment, saying that you can teach a child way more by just visiting the grocery store than what you can teach him by taking him to visit 10 museums!  So true.  I know it’s difficult to be able to discern these realities when the present culture has an eager devotion to the worldly idea of success.  But the bible actually calls us in the book of Romans to “not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed according to the renewing of our mind”.
C'mon old man, you can go faster!..research says...=P

In closing, I also like to remind myself, that this life and all we do with it including parenting has a real chance of heart-and-soul fulfilling success only if lived under God’s grace.  He’s the one that can make something beautiful out of our own mistakes, amaze us with the accomplishments of our shortcomings, and give meaning to it all.  So I must say, if there’s any subscription we must have to become a successful parent, that should be a subscription to His word…Which is always free, but seriously invaluable…And does not expire!

In my quest for living out a joyful a grace-full parenting,


No comments:

Post a Comment