I Believe In Average Parenting -- & That's What Makes Me a Damn Good Mom


Courtesy of Mandy Waysman

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes." I like to think he was talking about my parenting when he said that. It's likely he had much more on his mind, but I make most things about me. Parenting philosophies have changed over the years. Maybe the most exciting change is that we have lots of labels. Tiger parenting, attachment parenting, free-range parenting, panda parenting, and somersault parenting are some examples. Only one of which is made up -- and I bet it'll take you a minute to guess which one. 

I personally and proudly believe in average parenting.

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What makes an average parent? Easy peasy. No, really. That's the answer. I take it easy. I do whatever seems right in the moment and that includes making mistakes. I read articles about best practices in parenting, but I don't chain myself to an idea if it doesn't seem to work. And there are a lot of things that don't fall into average parenting to me. 

And there are so many reasons I can really only fairly classify myself as an average parent. 

For one, this whole co-sleeping doesn't work for me so attachments parenting is definitely out. Bless you, dear mothers and fathers that sleep with your children in your bed. I cannot sleep with people close to me. I know that goes against mother code. It's not even that the kids star in Bruce Lee movies in their dreams and beat me up. I don't like cuddling when I'm going to sleep, and frankly, that doesn't make me a bad mom. My youngest will come up when she is sick and say, "Mom, can we hug while we are sleeping?" It melts my heart, but it's only a yes when she's sick. On average I get six hours of sleep and I really have always needed 10. I cannot function long in the world of the living with that deficit hanging over my head like an anvil perched to drop from a 10th-story window. 

I am not a great tiger mom either. If I had to choose the thing that I am the worst at for that section, it's my roar. I just can't seem to get that tiger roar. I just want my children to try their best. I do try to challenge them to improve and I am aware of where they excel, but I also know that we aren't all supposed to be really good at all things. I'm below average at PE class but good at art. I was good at math, and yet science really wasn't my thing. And I'm OK with my kids being just as average. 

Now you might be wondering how free-range parenting might go for me. Well, I'm not that either. I want to know where my children are and who they are with. I don't let them walk home from school yet (they are soon to be 9 and 7.) It's not even a fear thing. I want them to know that I care where they are and what they are doing. I'm sure free-range parents have other ways that they show their love. This is my way. 

I believe in average parenting. I keep in mind that no matter how I parent, there will be challenges. No matter how I approach situations, my children will have to make their own mistakes. 

No matter how tightly I wind myself up to roar like a tiger, It'll still come out more of a purr mixed with a strangled goose sound. No matter how much I try to hover over them like a helicopter, I still do want to see what Katherine posted on facebook and it's OK to have a second to check my phone. I am an average parent because I'm an average person. Average, happy kids are my ultimate goal and we are on the right path for that in my family. People should feel free to go to extremes to craft the child that understands the world at age 3, but I'll stick with enjoying what we have. 

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