There was a time in the not-so-distance past when I had three kids under the age of three.
I remember one Sunday; Secret Agent Man must have been on assignment, because I was alone with the kids when my twin toddlers started to act up. Not wanting to disrupt the services, I tried to escort my boys out of the chapel. Boys No. 1 and 2 were not quite three-years-old and Mini Me was still a babe in arms. I put her on my hip and tried to hold both of my sons’ hands with one hand. The nearest exit was a side door near the front of the chapel. I was able to get us swiftly to the door, but at that point, one my twins, realizing that going out meant trouble for him, plopped himself down in the open doorway. So, I’ve got babe my hip, one boy by the hand and with the whole congregation watching my not-so-swift or silent exit, I am pushing the other seated boy out the door with my foot…in a pencil skirt and heels.
That afternoon a lady from the congregation showed up at my house with a parenting book. My first response was indignation. Who was she to give me tips on parenting?! But seeing the sincerity and well-meaning-ness of her gesture, I accepted the book with thanks.
I can’t recall learning anything really significant or life-changing from the book, but what it did make me realize is that your parenting strategy needs to change as your children do. What works for one phase of your child’s life, won’t work for another. Let me explain.
You see, there is a parenting spectrum. On one end are the” loosey goosey” parents and on the other end is the-my-way-or -the-highway parents. I tended to be on the highway side of the spectrum. My personality pre-parenthood would have leaned more toward the “loosey goosey” side, but when the twins came along, I became large and in charge (in more ways than one). That being said, just like life is full of change your parenting style needs to change with age and with circumstance.
For instance, if you have one baby dancing on the kitchen table, you whip out the video camera, if you have two babies dancing on the table; you whip out the insurance card, because an ER visit is in your near future.
When my boys became toddlers, my regimented style needed a trip down the middle of the road. As they became more opinionated, I needed to give them room to make some of their own choices on their day to day life. As they have continued to grow, so has my wisdom and awareness on when I need to apply a more regimented style to my parenting and when I need to give them more room to make choices and mistakes.
I’m not suggesting you throw the parenting book back at the well-meaning church lady; just be mindful as to whether you need to stand on it or just balance it on your head.
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