I subscribe to what I like to call, the baby boomer method of parenting. It’s not fail-proof; I don’t let my kids sit on the banquet seat of an EJ Holden without a seat-belt or whittle down sticks with a pocket knife, but I do my best not to get caught up with flash cards, playground altercations or thirty-seven different extra-curricular activities.
It’s not a style that suits everyone but it works for me. I appreciate that other kids have different needs and subsequently require more vocal advocates but with that being said, there are still times when I question what the hell I am doing. I’m screwing them up. I’m rotting their teeth. I’m a terrible parent. My mum never did this to me? And my very favourite, they’re going to end up hating me.
Yesterday we went to our first primary school interview. A minor milestone, I was hoping for a bit of casual banter; a handful of questions, instead what I found was the chance to reassess my parenting methods when my son decided to slide under the desk and gnaw on an arm in order to avoid questions like “Who does all the cooking at home?” I forgave him when he answered “Dad” because I was too busy checking my watch for 1950.
When the principal asked ‘What’s your favourite food to eat at home?’ I mentally pleaded “Don’t say happy meal. Don’t say happy meal,” so I wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or not when my son answered back with “Guns!”
Fortunately the two-year-old stabbed my husband in the eye with a pencil at this point so we were momentarily distracted. When I later commented on the principal’s gold chain and choice of footwear and my husband responded with “You’re not dating the guy”, I realised I wasn’t quite so laid-back after all (Me defensive? Never!)
We complain a bit about kids but one of the greatest gifts they can give us is humility. They keep shit real. Yesterday I realised there’s no point subscribing to any parenting method, just do what you can to survive with minimal embarrassment and keep away from high horses…..oh and sharp pencils.