What is it about being a mom that makes us second-guess ourselves? Or maybe some of you don’t, and for that I’m jealous, but I am always wondering what’s the best thing to do or the right thing to do. And I’m realizing if we’re all being honest here, there is rarely a right thing and only sometimes a best thing.
I think it’s the teacher in me who sometimes feels like I should always be doing something with my toddler. I’m so used to building and implementing curriculum with my students in the classroom that I fall into that trap a bit at home, I think. I’d like to blame it on the teaching, but really I think it’s the world we live in as well. I know our grandparents and great-grandparents would laugh at the music classes, educational toys, and Gymboree madness we take as the gospel way of parenting in this century. It creeps into your consciousness whether you want it to or not, and it leaves you feeling like you owe it to this little person to start grooming for Harvard at ten months old or something.
I’m getting better about this though. We are not busy everyday, or not in the traditional sense. We alternate between play-dough and crayons and puzzles and blocks and cars and exploring outside. And our only outings are typically errands or library storytime or the park occasionally. And he is not in a playgroup and not in a daycare, or preschool as they all call themselves nowadays. Not at all. He’s learning in his own little environment, and I just hope I’m doing the right thing by letting him learn here.
It’s hard to know what’s right, I think. And everyone has their own opinions. And we tend to reflect a lot back on ourselves that we probably shouldn’t. Someone with a child in daycare says it’s so good for them to be around other kids all the time, and you take that to mean maybe you are doing the wrong thing. Someone with a potty-trained kid says potty training is so easy and you take that to mean that something is wrong with you because you haven’t done that yet. I always wonder if these comments are meant as cut-downs, as I’m a better mama than you comments or if it’s just my own perception. In reality, I think it’s a little bit of both. We’d like to say parenting is not a competition, but there are so many traits of our modern world that try to tell us otherwise.
I do know that most modern research reveals that the biggest factor of child’s future success or intelligence is a feeling of security. And I know I can offer that. I can offer love and security and teach a little kindness and patience and let him follow his curiosity. And for now, I think that’s the right plan for us. It’s putting aside the Mommy Olympics that’s the hard part.