Tuesday, July 3, 2012
By the time one’s child reaches the age of two, his or her behavior is all the evidence a parent needs to prove that the child is far, far from perfect, even if at birth the child seemed perfect by all physical accounts.
The unfortunate truth is that as parents, we often think our child is a reflection of us and on us, of who we are or are not, of what we are doing or not doing. We carry the weight of so much unnecessary responsibility which can make parenting extremely stressful and guilt-inducing, especially in the grocery store when one’s child is shrieking like a banshee.
When I had my first child, I believed that as her mom I was the artist shaping the clay of her personality and behavior. It was by my own hands that she would become a smart, kind, wonderfully charming person. Now that I have the experience of time and mothering three children, I understand that a baby is already a work of art at birth, with an already set personality and temperament. As a mom, I am a curator, caring for the art, interpreting it, and helping it find it’s best showcase. I find that the works of art that are my children actually shape me in a far more powerful way than I ever expected.
Coming to this realization certainly took the weight of the world off my shoulders and allowed me to accept my children for who they are. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I like them for who they are all the time.). I try to be gentle with myself, acknowledging that I do the best I can, but there is a limit to what I can do. Some things are simply beyond a parent’s control.
Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.
Don't forget to read her full article, Perfectly Imperfect Baby, in our June/July issue of Today's Family, and please weigh in with your own parenting experiences... we love to hear them!