After much soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that my husband and I committed an egregious parenting mistake when we embarked on this wonderful journey called parenthood. Actually, it is a classic newbie error precipitated by our childhoods being marked by parents who always made decisions for us and whose households were anything but democratic. Our parents said it and we did it--or else. Personally, though I absolutely adore my mom and love her madly, I knew that there were a few things about her parenting style that I would tweak when I became a parent. So, we decided to encourage our children to speak their mind (respectfully) and we offered choices so that they would feel empowered and capable from a young age. Likewise, we wanted them to always feel comfortable to question our decision about something if they could effectively substantiate the reason why they might want us to reconsider said decision. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Want to know why? I say this because now we cannot find the 'mute' switch some days. I swear they have opinions about everything now and they are more than happy, thrilled in fact, to share those opinions what seems like 24/7. Next to 'mom,' 'I think' are the most often used words in our family. Despite knowing better, it is so easy to get caught up in the maelstrom some days I find that I am substantiating my reasoning instead of reprimanding them for being so oppositional. For Mother's Day, I either want a referee shirt/whistle or 'four children who listen' (which is what I tell them I want every year).
Please don't get me wrong, for the most part, knowing that my children can not only articulate a point but back it up logically with examples, often quite compelling ones at that, makes me feel that we did something right. However, while I would not like to return to my childhood where 'children should be seen but not heard'--though I do fantasize about it on days like today-- I would like a lot more calm some days and a lot less attitude. I bet that my children will have an opinion about this blog, too!