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Friday, August 22, 2014

Confessions of an Unfit Parent

Meet Kim.  Kim is a mother of one to her sweet Elijah.  Kim is a strong and proud mother who sees so much of herself in Elijah.  Kim has had a number of I Guess I'm Due moments (like all of us!) as she has began her journey of motherhood.  Read Kim's story as she takes you through one example and see how she has created a way to reflect on these situations.
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I am a 30 something first time mom. I completely rocked my 20s and conquered my world; travel, military, adventure, career, education, family and lifelong connections --> ROCKED IT! I was determined to take no prisoners in my 30s until the warden showed up, in a precocious little boy. I have met my match. The little kid that lives at my house is named Elijah. In my pursuit of world takeover, I was given a sidekick. Sure, my husband is my best ally, but Elijah is a reflection of me in spirit and candor. Which I thought meant the world would have to deal with us, but I’ve also learned I have to manage the enigma I brought to this world. 
There are so many ups and downs, joys and challenges that come with being a parent to a toddler. The fact that I’m a first time toddler parent, and have no frame of reference to some of the crazy antics of toddlerhood, it does not help boost confidence or prepare me for the foolishness that life will surely present and has presented. Just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, for example a bedtime routine that is somewhat reliable and doesn’t always end in tears, oral hygiene practice that I don’t get bitten then laughed at, or cool drinks of water from the puppy bowl, these kids make sure to let you know “You ain’t got it!” (in my New York accent). Just when you think you’ve figured it out they always pull a trump card that you didn’t see coming. 
It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one screwing up this parenting thing. I found myself reflecting on the day’s events each night. There were a lot of highlights but then there were those moments that I thought, “I’m almost sure that’s not ok.” or “Who is this kid?” or “We’ll keep this between us.” I started writing notes to Elijah reflecting on these moments and signed them "Unfit Parenting." I decided to share them with my friends on Facebook. I found out quickly that I wasn’t alone. People just don’t talk about it. Here’s an example.
"This Sunday started out no different than any other. We had a morning of activity and now Elijah was down for a multi-hour afternoon nap.  I felt accomplished. I got to watch some reality TV on DVR, clean the kitchen, mop the floors and was about to start a new task when I stopped to bask in the glory that was the joy of having such a sweet little boy to call my son. I was the best mom I could be in that moment. This is also the moment when he dropped this Sunday’s trump card. This apology note should explain what happened next. 
Dear Elijah, 
This can't be my fault but I'm sure it is, so let me apologize. When I heard you playing after naptime, I thought "How cute?" A few minutes later, I thought I heard you say "Boo boo." But you didn't say it again so I thought maybe not. Until I go to your room an hour later and you're pointing to your diaper on the floor saying "Boo boo." REALLY!? You could have waited for me…but maybe not. Lesson learned. 
Unfit Parenting"

 My friends with young children have all said that reading my notes to Elijah have helped them feel normal about having kids. The ones that are considering having kids or even expecting are still scared but they feel like they don’t have to be perfect. Just enjoy the ride.
The reality is that our kids are reflections of their parents. They highlight our strengths and weaknesses. They challenge us to use our talents to their highest capacity and strengthen us where we are weak. It’s like the Karate Kid when sensei says “The student teaches the master.” Elijah is my sidekick but he mentors me in many ways.
We are not perfect people or parents and its okay. People are faking it and hoping for the best. None of us are 100% sure this stuff is going to work. Don’t be ashamed. Write your kid a note. Let them read it when they’re parents. They forgive you then. Until then, embrace it. #Unfitparent.
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Thanks for sharing, Kim!  We have all had moments like Kim.  We feel on top of the world, and then it all comes crashing to a halt!  What "Unfit Parenting" moments have you experienced with your little one?

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