So Ashtyn has this little TV/VCR combo set in her room. (Yes, I know she’s only 20 months old). Yesterday, it died. Obviously this shouldn’t surprise me since everything electronic we own dies sooner than most, but still, I felt panicked. She watches Cinderella on that thing. And 101 Dalmations and Beauty and the Beast. I tried and tried to fix it (this basically consisted of me hitting it on the top and on the sides). Nothing worked. I don’t know why–it just bothered me so much that one day it worked, and the next it wouldn’t. So I jumped on Craigslist and found someone who was selling one nearby and sent Jeff to get it.
I was thinking about the fact that so many parents wouldn’t even want to have a TV in their kids’ room. But the more I thought about it, I just decided that parents are all different–just like our kids. I’ve always known that I’m not the type of person who thinks twice about giving her child sugary cereal or letting her watch movies in her room while she plays. When I was in college, I worked in the nursery at the church we went to. One of the moms was annoyed by the fact that we served Cheerios to the kids. (Not even the Honey-Nut kind!) I think she was the kind of mom who put a lot of thought into what she gave her kids to eat and what she exposed them to. Honestly, I think it’s awesome that she’s like that. Unfortunately, I’m so not like that. And it doesn’t even bother me that I’m not like that. I grew up eating both healthy cereal and sugary cereal and I grew up watching TV and I’ve survived and even have a happy life. A great life. So Ashtyn gets to watch TV in her room and I’ll just pray she doesn’t end up with ADD or something. 🙂 And if she does, we’ll deal. And she can eat Fruit Loops for her snack. (If I’m eating them, it’s not like I can not share with her.) I have a lot of respect for moms who try to instill really healthy habits into their kids from an early age. I think it’s great. But . . . we’re not all the same. And I’m of the opinion that different people parent differently, and lots of methods work. I just think that respecting what works for other people (and asking for help when we need it! Discipline advice anyone?!) is better than judging what we think other people should be doing. Parenting is enough of a mystery to me without adding more stress about what I should be doing to be like other people.
Maybe a lot of this comes from how we ourselves were raised. I remember this girl from our church growing up–she had to call her parents everywhere she went. If she stopped at a gas station, she had to call them. If she went by McDonalds, she had to call them. That worked for their family. My parents are not the worrying type of people. They just aren’t like that. So checking in like that was never a part of my growing up experience. And it wasn’t that the other parents were better, it was just that they were all different and parented differently. I’m appreciating that more now that I’ve got Ashtyn and I notice the different parenting styles around me. I get these parenting magazines in the mail. My favorite section is where other moms share ideas on what’s worked for them. Will I be using that advice about pureeing spinach into Ashtyn’s food? Probably not. But there are lots of other things I’d love to try. Being comfortable with who we are as parents is something that makes life easier, at least I think so.