Friday, January 2, 2009

Values

How are ya'll doing with those New Year's resolutions? No comment from Mommy, either. Though I'm doing quite well with my "have fun" resolution...

For you mommies out there, here's a post from Ms. Cassie of messyfunmommylife. She's a single mother to a two year old little man. She's also a junior in college studying philosophy and works part time at a small town bar. And she writes about the challenges of things not always going exactly as we expect, or according to plan, or in line with our resolutions...

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I was walking out of the house when it hit me. Aiden had not eaten breakfast. How I did not realize in the thirty minutes we were madly running to get dressed for the day? Then I did the unspeakable. I walked into a gas station and served my two year old son a donut and juice with a higher sugar content than I would like to admit. Oh the joys of motherhood.

“Mom, this juice is pink.”

I had not given a thought to the color of the juice I picked or the fact that he might have an issue with this.

“Pink is for girls. I'm a BOY, mom.”

My stomach turned as soon as the words fell out of his mouth.

Every mother comes up with certain expectations when they are having a baby. Yes, I will say that I planned on making him all home-cooked meals and sanitizing his room weekly. I had let go of these expectations long ago, but there were still some that I held on tight to. I had promised to never influence his decisions (as long as they were healthy). If he chose a barbie doll over a truck, so be it. If green was his favorite color, great; if pink was, so what? It had never been an issue and I never thought it could be. Until now.

When developing these expectations, I forgot an essential part. His father. I could instill all of the great values I wanted into him, but his father had values as well. I learned early to pick my battles. I did not fight him when he sent Aiden to daycare in clothes that resembled pajamas. I let it go when he gave Aiden baby food that I had not previously approved. I even kept my mouth shut when he sent him home with a haircut he had not left with. I learned some things are worth fighting over and some are not. But where do you draw the line? How do you compromise on something so daring as values? The answer is you don’t.

I could have called his father up that moment and let him know my feelings on the issue. I have a suspicion that my words would have come out a bit irrational. Not only would I have been perceived as overreacting, nothing would have changed. So I decided to think it over. If I still felt it was a battle worth fighting tomorrow, I would address it.

While cooking dinner that evening, I realized that I could not control Aiden's environment forever. I could cook his meals, control his television, and give him all of the cultural experiences I wanted. Eventually, I would have to send him into the world and he would have to decide what his values were. Children witness more than we like to admit. While my mother instilled hard Christian values on me I still to this day remember watching Chucky at a babysitter's at the age of four. I also remember the manner in which my mother addressed this babysitter. In the end your children decide what values to hold dear. They decide if it's ok that they prefer dance over football. They decide what religion is for them. They choose what is important to them and what is not. So do the best you can. Teach them your values and support their curiosity. In the end, no matter what path they choose, know that you helped get them there.

3 comments:

Heather of the EO said...

Yes, there's so much we imagine one way that turns out another way. Learning to accept that our expectations might not be met is really important I think. We can't control it all and letting go of that control is soooo painful. Great post!

Andrea said...

Good post! I definitely think what we do as parents helps them and influences their decisions SOOOO much in the end though. I just hope my kids choose the best. :)

Z's Mom said...

Your absolutely right. I think what we teach them now does make a huge difference on how they are as adults. They ultimately have to make their own decisions though.