5 Quick Questions on Parenting

Oct 29 2013

It’s time for a new edition of 5 Quick Questions.

This is my opportunity to get to know you better, and it’s one of the best things we do here because it turns out you are very good at truth-telling, friends. To those of you who used the last few volumes to delurk, it’s wonderful to meet you! And to those of you who’ve been around a while, mucking about in this space and putting your feet on the furniture? You’re always rad. Thank you.

As you may know, 5 Quick Questions can be anything from the inane What Is Your Family Booger Rule? to the more serious (and my absolute favorite because you were so deeply honest) Questions About Faith.

Today, though, I’d like to pick your parenting brains for the true, the ridiculous, and the laugh-out-loud funny.

And I have ulterior motives. I get to be on a parenting panel this week for a group of mamas with young kids. But I’ve learned over time that we are wiser together than I can ever be alone, and, while I may have one piece of the puzzle, it’s a much clearer picture when we all share our pieces. So I thought I’d ask you a few questions today that might be asked on Friday. Because if there’s one thing I’d like to give young moms, it’s more pieces of the puzzle, you know? More mamaraderie. More ways we’re in this together. More ways to find the magic in the mess and the laughter in this life. And I can do that much, much better if we work together.

OK?

OK.

Here we go.

ID-100400665 Quick Questions on Parenting

  1. If you could go back in time and whisper one thing to yourself when you were a parent of young ones, what would it be?
  2. What’s one change you’ve made in your parenting or your house or yourself that’s allowed you to breathe easier? 
  3. Comparison. Blerg. What’s your strategy for not comparing yourself to other moms or your kids to theirs? 
  4. What’s one of the funniest things your children ever did?
  5. But how do you keep your sense of humor during the tough patches of parenting?

And here are my answers:

  1. If you could go back in time and whisper one thing to yourself when you were a parent of young ones, what would it be? 

    It surprised me when I really thought about this to discover I wouldn’t whisper any of the things I didn’t know. Or tell Younger Me any of the things that would surprise me. I guess because I wouldn’t want to spoil my story, you know? I wouldn’t want to give away all the wonder or the discoveries or even the deep pain of having it all fall apart and the hard work of assembling this life. 

    I suppose I would hug me and burst into tears and make myself terribly uncomfortable by being emotionally demonstrative, but what I’d really want me to know is it’s going to be OK. I’m going to be OK. These tiny people I love are going to be OK. I mean, deeply OK. Not AWESOME. Not PERFECT. Really an utter mess some days. And still somehow OK. And enough. And even good. I’d tell myself that the feeling of inadequacy isn’t the same as being inadequate and that eventually I’ll learn the difference. I’d whisper that the little bit I can do at one time, the small person I can be, is enough. And is valuable. And is useful. And is deeply worthy of being loved and deeply able to give that love to others.

  2. What’s one change you’ve made in your parenting or your house or yourself that’s allowed you to breathe easier? 

    Learning to laugh at the chaos and the destruction. I know; I wish I had something profound to say, too, but there it is.

  3. Comparison. Blerg. What’s your strategy for not comparing yourself to other moms or your kids to theirs? 

    For me, I find that outing myself as a total raging mess helps. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but it helps me find my people, you know? Like, when I talk about having a less-than-perfect morning or about my dress unraveling in the parking lot, I find a lot of other moms who are willing to admit their own awesome, often ridiculous, messes. And that’s where we find our Village, I think; when we sit in the mud together. 

    As far as comparing my kids to other kids, well, that’s harder. We’ve struggled with everything from developmental delays to the more typical, um, attitude issues (*ahem* in myself and the kids), and I find when I’m comparing my kids to others, I’m usually trying rather desperately to process my own grief. Grief that things are harder for my kid than for typical kids. Grief that things are harder for me. So it helps for me to name that, you know? It helps me not to be bitter that things seem to go so swimmingly for other parents when I name my grief and allow myself to be sad.

  4. What’s one of the funniest things your children ever did? 

    Oh, geez. One? 

    I’m going to have to go with the time my kid punched another kid in the nuts but only because he cares about justice. Or the time my boys had a contest to see how high they could fill the bathtub with pee. Or the time they learned about the Archimedes Principle. Or the time they all took a dump under the front porch. Oooh! Or the time they got kicked out of the church Christmas program! Or the time they stayed in the program and flipped everyone off. Or… OK, I can’t possibly pick only one.

  5. But how do you keep your sense of humor during the tough patches of parenting? 

    Practice. Lots and lots of practice. 

    And having pretty literally All of My Stuff irretrievably wrecked. Like, past all repair. ‘Cause when there’s nothing left to ruin, it’s hard to maintain the mad.

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Your turn. How do you answer these 5 Quick Questions? Remember, you don’t have to answer them all if you don’t want to; this is always challenge by choice. I can’t wait to see what you have to say.

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