Unless adopting, we don’t have to meet even minimum requirements to be parents. It’s a little confusing to think we have to buy a license to go fishing, and pass a test to drive a car, but don’t even have registration papers to fill out before we become a mom or dad. If something had to be done to prove new parents were competent to take the baby home, most kids would grow up at the hospital.
Honestly parenting is a learn as you go type of job. Books, blogs and websites keep us up on what is “supposed” to happen at certain age landmarks, but every child is different. That’s why there’s no set recipe to follow insuring everything turns out smooth and well done. Just as new parents think they have it figured out, another baby is born who is nothing like the first, leaving mom and dad questioning if there was a mix up in the hospital nursery.
Parenting is kind of like jumping in a lake not knowing how to swim real well. We gulp and flail a lot, but eventually get more comfortable. But sometimes we can tangle things up along the way because we end up more focused on what the kids can do instead of who they are becoming.
I listened to a young mom brag that her daughter was totally potty trained at 18 months and was reading entire books by the time she was three. Her number for the church kids program flashed up on the screen at church the following Sunday because her now five-year-old was out of control in Sunday School. So what if she could read the book she was beating someone over the head with.
What would it be like if we spent less time pushing for our kids to be accepted in the primo preschool, the advanced academic programs, and the best mighty might teams and more time teaching them how to be a good listeners, emphasizing the importance of kindness, and showing them how to be patient and helpful? In the long run what really matters? Maybe that’s the question we should be asking new parents before they leave the hospital.