This is my space, so I’m going to do a little venting here. Indulge me, please (or don’t–use that back button and go on your merry way).
I keep reading posts about how dirty my house should be (because I have a child), how I will never sleep again (because I have a child), how I won’t ever have time to shower again (because I have a child), how I can never have friends without children again (because I have a child), among other generalizations.
I’m going to go ahead and call the bluff here.
Seriously? I get that some kids are more challenging than others, and mine is most definitely of the easy going variety. But, really? Even on our worst days (and there have been a few), I have gone to bed with a tidy house, a shower, and friends of all varieties. Most of the time when I read these posts, they scream, “My child is the center of my attention, home, and relationships!“
I’m certainly not saying I don’t love my child or put him first in many cases. What I am saying is that my job is to raise him into a functional member of society and send him on his way. He won’t be the center of attention there. No one will skip their shower because he was having a moment. When my son moves off to college, or where ever he decides to go, I want to still have a relationship with my husband and my friends. They were here long before my son, and they’ll be here long after he leaves our home.
Do we take him places he sometimes doesn’t want to go? Yes. Do we have him work out his own disputes with friends? Yes. Do we treat him to special things when he makes good choices or excels at something? Of course. We enjoy so many things with him, but we make it a priority to make sure he is also learning responsibilities, decision making, and life skills at an age-appropriate pace.
I don’t have a dirty home because he helps clean up and put away. We’re not missing out on sleep because we stick to bedtime, and he isn’t allowed to leave his bed once that time has come. I’m able to take a shower each and every day because he’ll be okay for five minutes (use those vibrating bounce seats; strap ’em in near the shower and jump in!) while I take care of myself. Date nights are a priority for us because we can reconnect, and he learns that marriage is important.
I’m a better parent when I take care of myself, my marriage, and my friendships.
I realize I’m making my own generalizations here. There are days we just need to cuddle and hang out at home. There are children who require much more from their parents on a daily basis due to illness or other circumstances. That’s not what I’m talking about here.