This morning we had a little bit of an unusual circumstance at home.
I shared it on the NYAM Facebook page:
I didn’t put this out there because I care about what other people think.
I’m okay with being *that* parent. I’ve been *that* parent many, many times.
I put this out there more as a snapshot of my morning and the unexpected and unanticipated scenarios we often find ourselves in as parents.
They happen all the time.
There is no advanced warning for them. They aren’t covered in What To Expect When Your Expecting.
There is usually no clear cut right or wrong answer for them.
I put this out there as an example of the mental struggles parents go through multiple times a day, questioning so many of the decisions they have to make on a daily basis.
I put this out there as a reminder of how we are so easily influenced by what others think of us.
I put this out there because sometimes our views are so black and white, but so often life is gray.
Parenting is so full of gray areas.
I put this out there because we sometimes make decisions that contradict what we would normally advise other people to do.
I put this out there because we are so often judged on the decisions we make, but people don’t have all the information.
I didn’t put this out there as a test.
Initially, I honestly just put it out there as more of a funny story and I asked the What Would You Do? question kind of in jest.
I didn’t really expect to get so many responses. I kinda thought I’d just get a bunch of laugh emojis.
But I also knew exactly what I was going to do before I even started typing that post.
Before I get to what I decided to do about the coat, there is something of importance to share here. It was kind of a long post as it was, so there were a lot of details I didn’t include.
They are details that turn this from a black and white scenario to a gray one.
I was gonna list them all, but they really don’t matter.
What does matter is that nobody ever really knows the whole story except for the person directly involved.
And yeah, sometimes — okay, A LOT OF THE TIMES — it is hard to know what the right thing to do is.
It is hard to know if the decision you are about to make is the right one.
But nobody else can really tell you what the right or wrong thing to do is.
You gotta go with your gut and trust yourself.
You gotta know that you are making what you think is the best decision at the time.
You gotta know that nobody else knows the full story.
And you gotta be willing to reflect on those decisions if shit is going down as a result of what you decided to do.
So what did I do?
I went home, got Number 7’s regular jacket, and her hat, and her gloves, and I brought them right back to school.
Not because I was getting into a wear-your-fucking-coat battle, but because I think Number 7 really just regretted taking that vest.
And she’s 8.
And sometimes 8-year-olds don’t think the way grown ups do.
You know, because they are 8.
I mean, sometimes grown ups don’t think the way grown ups do.
And I wanted her to have the jacket she felt comfortable in.
You know why else I brought it?
Because I chose to run to the store and it took longer than I anticipated and when I got home I rushed the kids out the door.
They were packed up and ready to go, but they are still kids.
I didn’t give them any reminders or very much time at all.
I don’t know about you, but I have rushed out the door more than once and then realized I forgot something.
A couple weeks ago I left for a swim meet and realized I forgot to bring the sneakers I usually wear on deck.
I texted my husband and asked him to bring them.
I would have been pretty pissed if he told me he wasn’t going to bring them because he didn’t want to enable me.
If I forgot my sneakers every time I went to a swim meet, sure. Then he’d have a point.
I mean, if we are going to be black and white on that with the kids, then we better expect the world to be black and white on that stuff with us, too.
There is a difference between a kid who is chronically forgetting stuff and being rescued repeatedly and a kid who made a regrettable choice.
Number 7 just made a choice she realized she wished she hadn’t made.
It was a gray area.
What did we learn today?
Number 7 learned not to wear the vest to school again. Not until she decides that she totally loves it.
I learned that maybe I shouldn’t have run to the grocery store.
If I hadn’t we wouldn’t have rushed out the door to the car and I would have had the kids double check to make sure they had hats and gloves if they decided they wanted them at recess.
Did Number 7 wear her coat after I dropped it off?
Who knows. As I’m writing this she is at school.
Probably. Because she doesn’t like to be cold. Although I’m not sure she even got it.
But what I do know is that in my gut, I felt good about the decision I made.
And if Number 7 did get her coat, she knew her mom had her back.
Because I have been there myself.
Did you ever have a day when you wore something and you just regretted it and you felt uncomfortable and not confident and shitty in it and couldn’t wait to get home and change?
I have. And it sucks.
I made a decision out of empathy. Sometimes you need to do that when you are in the gray areas.
Here’s what else I know.
Sometimes I’m too hard on my kids.
Sometimes I’m too easy on them.
Sometimes I hit the sweet spot, and I get it just right.
This is the nature of parenting.
It’s hit or miss sometimes. Guess and check. Hope for the best.
We are all doing the best that we can.
My best now after 15 years of parenting is much better than my best was at year one.
I’m still going to make a lot of mistakes.
Today I feel pretty confident that I made the right one.