Monday, June 4, 2012

Perspective: A Guest Post

Continuing the series of guest posts on parenting, I'm proud to present Christine. Her blog is always a joy to read, and I'm so glad to hear her take on parenting. All of these are great, and I know that in my day to day life I tend to forget about them. I suggest you all go check out her blog. She's one of those bloggers that can make me laugh and cry in the same post, and I'm so glad she agreed to share her perspective!


When Kadie first reached out to me about doing a guest post on my perspective on parenting I thought, “Hey! That’ll be a great exercise!” Because, frankly, I wasn’t sure I had one. Parenting, for me at least, is such a head down, balls to the wall, moment-to-moment engagement that perspective can be difficult to locate. And usually I’d rather just take a nap.

But I appreciate the need for perspective. It’s important to get an occasional glimpse beyond the minutiae and look at the whole picture. And this post was a great opportunity to do just that.

So I’ve spent a few weeks thinking back through the ten years I’ve been at this parenting gig and taking stock. And I realized something. I’ve tried just about everything. I’m a “kitchen sink” kind of mom. I’ve had about a gajillion “plans”, tested umpteen “theories”, and taken and used and ultimately chucked more “advice” than seems humanly possible.

Only four basic principles made the cut from all that trial and mostly error. Ten years and I have only four blogworthy nuggets for you! And they’re super simple. Which, in my opinion, is what makes them “keepers.”

1)   Try to keep one eye on your sense of humour at all times. Unless your kid is scaling a barbed wire fence. In that case, keep both eyes on your kid. But when no one’s life is in jeopardy, which is 95 to 99 percent of the time, look for opportunities to inject a little levity into the situation.

I’m always so proud of myself when I remember to do this. Like this morning when my kids were taking far too long to get into the car and I was grumpy and impatient. We weren’t in danger of being late. What was my problem? So I decided to switch it up, started humming a silly song and soon we were on our merry way.

2)   Trust Your Gut. The biggest parenting mistakes I’ve made resulted from me not listening to my gut instinct. This was a really hard lesson for me to learn because I always believe everyone someone else knows better than me.

I distinctly remember, years ago, talking to a friend about my son’s school. At the end of the conversation she said, “It sounds like you know it’s not a good fit. Maybe you should look around.” I knew she was right, that that WAS in fact what I was saying, but the idea of changing was utterly overwhelming. I kept thinking, “It’s good enough for so-and-so and so-and-so. Maybe it will get better.” It got worse. Three years later, we switched schools. I consider this switch to be the best move of my parenting career so far. I’m just sorry I didn’t try to do it sooner. 

3)   Lead By Example. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a crock. Our children are watching us. We need to step up and do things the right way. Parenting has made me a better person because I want to set the best example I possibly can. It’s impossible to be perfect, but as long as I’m improving, I’m happy.

4)   When you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up. Admit your mistake, do what you can to correct it, and move on. I really struggle with this one. I’m trying to be more forgiving of everyone, including myself. Which circles back on #3. I can’t tell my kids “It’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes.” if I don’t tell myself the same thing.

Thank you, Kadie, for this opportunity to gain a little perspective on the ever-changing profession of parenthood. A post like this every ten years is probably a good idea. I’m sure the teen years will teach me a lot. If I survive them.  

And thank you, Christine! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say in ten more years! I think we'll all survive, but I think that's when we all drove our mothers off the edge of sanity. Be prepared. We're going to lose our minds.

Stay tuned for more guest posts about parenting and perspective!


  1. Yeah! Thanks so much for having me here today, Kadie. You think you're having a bad hair day? We got lice over here. Grrrrrr.....

    1. Ahhh! I'll take my frizz and be happy with it lol.

  2. WOW great tips, Christine. I think you have discovered my four universal truths of parenting. It is implied in #4 but I've also found it critical to be willing to apologize. #2 is my guiding principle - I think it's the holy grail of parenting. xo

  3. God, yes, apologizing. So important. I'm very much working on apologizing appropriately, effectively, and in a timely manner. *sorry* for leaving it out ;)

  4. Christine, great points; I think every parent can take these to heart! Esp #3 and 4.

    1. Thanks, Pamela. And thanks for "commuting" over here to read ;)

  5. Number 1 & Number 4 are my favorite things about parenting - reminding myself to keep my sense of humor and to admit mistakes makes my life SO MUCH EASIER.

    Great post.

  6. You are so right, Christine, at the end of the day, we have to laugh. Parenting isn't easy but we only have 18 short years with our kids.