When you’re single and child-free, it’s very clear what you’re responsible for in your life. You have to pick up the slack and own up to the results of everything you do. Once there are others involved, though, the lines of responsibility can blur. Sometimes we end up scapegoating our significant others, or worse, our kids. While our children do deserve to own up to their own actions (when appropriate, and once they’re a bit older than, say, an infant), there’s something we need to be clear about. Some things aren’t our kids’ faults — they’re ours.
As a mom, I know I can get frustrated at some of my son’s behaviors. There are days when I wish he would just settle down and read a book. Then again, he’s only 3 years old and while he might pick up a book to look at pictures, he’s nowhere near prime reading age. Sometimes I get frustrated with him because he’s acting out, but I know it’s because he’s tired or uncomfortable or frustrated with a set of emotions he can't understand.
For example, just this past weekend I was wishing he would be a bit quieter, but I knew he’d been cooped up at home for a few days. I was recuperating from a cold and his father was coming down with it, so neither one of us felt up to building block towers or busting out watercolors or hitting the park. It wasn't our kid's fault, though it wasn't entirely ours, either. still, it made me realize all the other times it's tempting to pint the finger at someone else, and reflect on my own actions as a parent.
When We’re Late For Anything & Everything
I wish I could say that my son is the reason I’m often late for things, but anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing me for a significant amount of time, knows I've always been notoriously late. Granted, having a child adds additional hurdles to getting ready in the mornings or making it to an appointment 15 minutes early. If I could only always wake up after the first alarm rings, though, I’d have enough time to factor in any potential kid-related catastrophes.
When My Kid Has Cursed
I try not to, but my husband and I still curse in front of our kid from time to time. Honestly, I wouldn’t even have a problem with him using some of the words if used correctly (like if he bangs his shin on a table, an expletive might be OK). Still, I know it’s not the most acceptable vernacular for a 3 year old, and while I have told him not to repeat some of those words, I know it can happen occasionally. I can’t really blame him for it.
When My Kid’s Room Is Messy
My son is great at putting things away when there’s a proper place to put them. He loves putting things in baskets and boxes and bags. So when I fail to provide said receptacles (which does happen at times), his room becomes a disaster area and it's not his fault.
Why My Kid Is So Hooked On Just A Few Foods
I’ve taken the easy route for a long time with meals. My kid had some trouble when he started solids and self-feeding (and still does, to a certain extent), so I’ve chosen to placate him by picking out the things he normally enjoys. I’ve not always had the spare income to buy a variety of foods he might not even end up eating, either. I’m finally starting to expand more on his options, but I know I’m at least partly to blame for his chicken nugget obsession.
When My Kid Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep
When I’m Not Connecting Enough With My Partner
It’s easy to blame having kids for having any relationship struggles. After all, children affect your ability to have conversations, go on dates, or have sex whenever you damn well please. Still, it's not their fault. I know I (as well as other parents) simply have to try harder and make more of an effort to be better partners.
When My Kid Is Bored
My child is a toddler, and that means that while he’s cool with playing cars by himself for a while, he’s eventually going to get bored. So unless I am bringing on additional, fun activities (coloring, playing with instruments, puppets, his toy kitchen, going to the park, etc.), he’s going to end up either melting down or driving me crazy. It’s not always entirely my fault that I can’t provide these things (sometimes parents have work and chores to do), but it’s certainly not my son’s fault.
When My Kid Has A Meltdown
Some of the things I’ve listed above will prompt meltdowns, like not sleeping enough, not eating enough, and not having enough to do. When my son’s needs are all met, it’s rare for him to melt down into an epic toddler tantrum. When he is having a tantrum, I know that about 80 percent of the time I just need to try a little harder to make sure he’s got what he needs.
Other kids might be different, and might tantrum anyway or for other reasons, but that’s not the case here.
When My Kid Makes A Mess When I’m Not Looking
All kids make messes. Controlled messes with supervision are fine, knocking mommy’s soy milk on the sofa is not. This is why us parents need to try and make sure to keep things like that out of kids' reach until they learn proper restraint (which I’m hoping comes in another year or so).
When My Kid Fixates On Cars
My son is obsessed with vehicles (especially cars and trains). My husband loves these things, and is quick to encourage our son’s fixation on them. I tend to be more laid back and let my kid choose what he likes. Still, I am realizing that kids enjoy whatever you get them excited about, so I feel like I’ve missed some opportunities there to get him into some of my own interests, or other interests in general. Now, I’m trying to make more of an effort (though it’s hard because cars still trump anything I ever want to do). But hey, it’s definitely not his fault.