I happened to have two separate conversations today about parents. Not just any parents – “those parents.” You know, those parents who do or allow certain things even though they know other people frown upon them. The one conversation centered on a mother who allows her nine-year-old son to sleep in her bed. She admits that it’s not what most people would consider a good habit, but she’s a single mom, and in her words, “He’s all I have.” While I can empathize with her, I can’t imagine finding myself in such a place with Violet nine years from now, even if, God forbid, something happened to Linda. I hear about a situation like that, and a voice in my head asks, “Why can’t she see that she’s putting her own needs before those of her child?” That’s my judgmental voice, and although he speaks up more often than he probably should, I have other voices telling me things, too. They’re harder to hear, but one of them is telling me, “Be careful.” He goes on, mumbling that down the road – or maybe at this very moment – I could be the one under the microscope, and let’s face it, all of us parents screw our kids up in one way or another (some of us, in more than one way). I’ve only been at this parenting thing for 5 months, and already I can appreciate how one’s idea of acceptable parenting behavior can veer off into the ditch over the course of days, months, or years (or even a really long night). So what’s the lesson here? I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with “judging not, lest I get judged” and trying to keep the bar high, no matter how exhausted, aggravated, or discouraged I get.
I hear a voice saying, “Good luck with that one.”