Guilt or Glory … life of a parent

When my daughter was born, I was told – in no uncertain terms – that were I to let her sleep on her back, she would die.

When my son was born, 3.5 years later, I was told – in no uncertain terms – that were I to let him sleep on his stomach, he would die.

As if parenting weren’t hard enough without the experts chiming in ….

The latest report that caught my eye – and believe me there are TONS of them – was this from the University of Chicago talking about how the learning and mastering of math and science concepts links back to how you speak to your child when they are very small. If you use spatial concept words and the child feeds them back to you, the are on the path to success.

Interesting if you are pregnant … for me, as for my kids, the information comes a little late. Worse in the ‘too late’ category was a big write up in the Tribune about how so much of what become health issues in later life start in utero. Yup. You get to start screwing up your kids before they draw breathe.

How rewarding is that?

I’ve worked very hard to remember throughout my children’s lives that their successes were indeed THEIR successes. That they are smart, fun, accomplished individuals is their doing and results in their applause – not a mommy moment. I’ve been very good at that.

Releasing the guilt for all that I have or have not done … that I can’t quite get over. I read an article like the U of C bit cited above because I find it interesting. The way that things are learned by small humans is fascinating and I’m a true sucker for anything about language acquisition – it is amazing. Well, to me at least.

But this often leads me to second guessing my parenting. Did I use spatial words? Take the proper vitamins? Remain calm and zen throughout pregnancy? In a word? Unlikely.

I can say I really did try to make sense of the information offered. And that I tried to evaluate – with my own internal logic – everything that was said and read and then actually DO what seemed to make the most sense.

But it is hard to give up the guilt. And really – the kids are pretty great. Imagine if they weren’t? Imagine if they had serious spatial issues or zinc deficiency or the inability to socialize while standing on their heads or … or … or …

This way madness lies. But so many paths lead there, its hard to find one that ambles nicely down sane street!

If you are new to the parenting game, do your best and give yourself a break. Enjoy ’em. And if you enjoy them (because they are obviously enjoyable), how bad a job can you be doing??

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