Journal

Never Say Never

Written by Kathy Glow

Written By:  Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog

I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to be the best mom ever.  I knew what foods my children would eat, how much television they would watch, how they would behave in public and what level of success they would achieve in school.

I knew this until I became a mom, that is.

You see, I was that childless woman who sat in judgement of you as you battled with your child at church, in the grocery store, and at the public event. 

I was the one who said, “I would never let a child that old ride in a shopping cart!”

“My children will never behave like that in church!”

“I will never allow my toddler to eat potato chips or French fries!”

“I am never going to nurse my child after he is a year old!”

“My children will never throw tantrums like that at the grocery store!”

“I will never get a mini-van with a video player!”

Time after time I sat in judgement of the things I knew nothing about.  I judged parents doing a job I had never held.

But it looked so easy.  How could they possibly mess it up as they had?

I found out the answer once I became a parent.

The reasons and circumstances are many, varied and complicated.  Or sometimes they are just simple.

Sometimes, for the sake of time, you let your 44 pound eight-year-old ride in the shopping cart, long legs dangling out the front, because you know you can shop more quickly if you let him ride along and play his video game than if you would have to chase him all over the store saying no to all the things he wants.

Sometimes, you realize your headstrong four-year-old is just trying to get your attention during a 60- minute church service, so you ignore his repeated attempts to poke you/rifle through your purse/drop things/hear the sound of his own voice.

Sometimes, you realize the only way to get a tantrum to stop is to walk away and leave your child standing in the middle of the toy aisle at Target.

There is the moment you realize, after nursing four babies, that this is your last one, and you want to make this moment last as long as you can.

Over time, you begin to realize what works with children and what doesn’t.  You recognize that all children are different, even if they are raised the same.  What worked with one child flops with another, and what one likes the other despises. 

You understand that there are circumstances out of your control, like a baby with a birth defect or a five-year-old who gets cancer.  Or boys who lose a brother and are hurting.

Sometimes, after you have that fifth baby, you realize that a few potato chips and a little dirt are not going to hurt him, so you let him have fun with his older brothers because life is too short to worry about all the “rules” that you thought were so important.

So you relax a little and eventually you come to the understanding with yourself that you must do what works for you and your family.  Because, really, that’s all that matters.

And you learn to never say never or always because – most of the time – there are exceptions.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to toss the one-year-old a potato chip and then pick out a DVD for the boys to watch in the van on the way to the grocery store.

What are some things that you thought you’d never do before you became a parent?

Photo source, photo source

 

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

7 Comments

  • Amen, Kathy!

    I thought I’d NEVER go to McDonalds. Now I wait in line for my “Mother of the Year” award about once a week. (They have $2 Happy Meals on Wednesdays. Seriously?)

    Anyways, I do things I never would have done. And my kids are growing up strong and happy.

    I only know you through your writing, but it seems that your kids have “The Best Mom Ever” already.

  • So true! Parenting is so much more than I ever realized it would be…We often joke that our oldest is like the “canary” we send into the “coal mine”…’go forth into this part of your life and come back and tell us what we did wrong so we can do a better job with the next one!’ I try to comfort myself in hoping that my kids will appreciate the effort I put forth to be a good mother even if the result is lacking. And, with each passing challenge I am reminded and humbled to know that the situations that stress and concern me one day are just a memory to revisit down the road and what really matters is that each of my babes lays their head down at night knowing that they are truely, wholely loved. Watching other mothers navigate situations I can’t even imagine has influenced my views and priorities as a mother so strongly. One of the most influential for me was watching a mother deal with the illness and ultimate passing of a child. Watching her…you, Mrs. Glow…gave me and continues to give me such a fresh perspective. Watching as you continue to parent your boys with passion, love, commitment, and creativity as your heart tries to heal from the pain of losing a child has helped me to appreciate that the little things – (and most of the big thing)s – are just that, little things. The true success of parenting is measured in the laughter, contentment, curiosity and security of our children…whether it involves a few too many french fries/ videos/ nights in mom and dad’s bed or not.

    • Thank you, Dana. 🙂 Yep, big things, little things, mistakes or successes, none of it matters much unless our kids are just loved. As soon as there is a definitive “manual of success” I’ll keep muddling my way through.

  • I’m right there with you. I have done SO many things I didn’t think I would as a parent. That being said I still have stuck with some of the plans I had when I imagined raising children. I also found the 1st kid is your tester. I was so much more relaxed about some of things that seemed so important to regulate the 1st time around. It also never crossed my mind pre-kids that I would have very strong willed children with their own ideas about how this life of ours will play out. Parenthood is hard, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂

    • I always say that parenting is nothing like the happy Fisher Price commercial I thought it would be. And yes, the poor oldest child who is the tester! But I also always say of Evan, “Poor fifth child,” because, eh, I realize that I either don’t have time for some stuff, or that stuff doesn’t really matter.

      • Our “Poor Evan” is our first child, but I definitely can understand the “Song for a Fifth Child” in relation to our Iain! These few lines of prose definitely resound with me:

        Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
        But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
        So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
        I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.

        With our first we were so hellbent on raising the perfect child that we forgot to stop to enjoy the the little moments. Now with number five we are taking a much more laid back approach, and really enjoying being parents! Who cares if the house is a mess, the kids are chasing each other through the halls, or there’s a pile of laundry – this is life with kids! It may not be what we expected, but it’s perfect nonetheless.