Friday, July 29, 2011

When Nothing is Going the Right Way

It's inevitable. There will come a time when you, the parent, will have a dark aha moment that slaps you right in the face. Secretly, you've known it all along. The truth is that sometimes there is no solution for your parenting problem. 'Dr. Do Right' has given you a multitude of solutions in his book, "How to Be the Perfect Parent Every Time." 'Nanny Knows It All' has demonstrated every stragetic move on her television show, "Loving Parent, Perfect Child."

And yet. Nothing that you've read or seen has helped your: biting toddler, screaming toddler, nursing all night baby/toddler who won't go to bed, train, stay dressed, get dressed... Well. You get the picture. The moment of truth usually dawns when dawn is, in fact, hours away. You lie there in the dark, feeling like a complete failure and wondering why everyone else seems to find parenting so easy.

The real truth is that no one finds it easy. There comes a time in everyone's life when the well of parenting wisdom runs dry. But here's the thing. As you lay curled in a weeping,sodden mess, huddling in the corner of your room and contemplating the disaster of your life, you need to realize something. Sometimes, you just have to wait. Ignore it. Forget about it. Pretend that it will all work out. Because that is the real truth. It will work out. Children grow up. Parents learn to accept the fact that life, like their little ones, is not perfect.

There are so many ways to do things right. Like sleeping together in the family bed. Or having baby in the co sleeper. Or in the (gasp!) crib placed in another room. Toddlers might toilet train at the age of two. Or four. Some kids might have a difficult time right into the school years. But eventually, they grow up.

There is one thing that will ensure long term success in your parenting efforts. Toni Morrison, the writer, nailed it when she asked Oprah's audience, "Does your face light up when your child walks in the room?" Because our faces tell our children the story of who they are every single day. And it should have nothing to do when they started pooping in the potty, or sleeping through the night. It shouldn't have anything to do with their report cards, or how they stack up against the other kids in soccer.

Does your face light up when they walk in the room? Do they see their bright, shiny, starry beloved selves reflected in your eyes? If they do, then here is the good news. You will see your bright and shiny self glowing right back. And you'll know that even when nothing seemed to be moving in the right direction, you were going that way all along.

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