Karen, ‘Do what you can.’ Tip 1 and “Pat yourself on the back 9 times if you accomplish tip #1.” Tip 2
Karen is a friend of mine from over 20 years ago. She is Mother to three grown boys, who now have families of their own.
Karen submitted only two tips. I’m sure I could have pressed her for more; however, I felt they were representative of our mutual goals in the early years, as well as her comedic charm.
During our time together, we were new Moms seeking to become better people, and better Mothers. We struggled to find the right way, the best way, to parent and to love.
Karen and I spent hours sharing, crying, and rebuilding ourselves. During our time, together we further our education, focused on our families, and had some success in healing old wounds. Together we had fun, met great people, and enjoyed a lot of laughs.
Karen is like a cousin, although we aren’t related. Like cousins, we’ve had special experiences, moments in time. We’ve grown up and drifted apart, yet are connected by unique and deep rooted bonds.
As demonstrated in Karen’s tips, she has a dry humor, and a quick, at times dark, wit! There is for sure an element of truth, and a grain of wisdom, in her humorous response.
I, myself, set the bar pretty low in the beginning. I vividly recall establishing two main parenting goals: 1) keep him out of prison 2) raise a reader. I realize the goals may not seem ambitious to most, but given my resources, abilities, and risk factors, I now feel they were somewhat lofty.
I’m happy to report, Karen and I both met and surpassed our initial standards. Now our boys are grown, and we are patting our own backs regularly.
There is a lesson in learning to simplify the complexities of parenting. Some days, providing food and shelter might be the top rung on the ladder. Maybe a shower is a victory.
Other days, it’s school meetings, case conferences, sleepless nights, illness, or the dreaded horror of a grocery store. Sometimes, one day can offer all that ‘fun,’ with still surprises of terror sprinkled throughout. Days can get crazy!
Remembering to reach for the simple things is the essence of Karen’s message. Having a friend such as Karen helped me to learn the parenting ropes.
My goal to raise a reader was met, and it is one of my proudest parenting practices. Overtime, my parenting goals evolved, as I did. Showering, and reading, one day became effortless, and my parenting advanced in a more natural way.
I was often reminded to go easy on myself, some even expressing, “You try too hard.” I confidently report, even the lowest expectations can result in the highest rewards if love leads the way.