Parenting decisions, major or minor, don’t come so easy for me. Take this scenario for instance:
Just asked my son’s nanny, Liza, to do some grocery shopping. Apparently, Luke’s gastronomic taste heavily leaned towards hotdogs for the past 2 weeks. Liza had asked to include hotdogs in the grocery list. Please note that I was getting ready for work on that hectic morning; I was an easy vulnerable target.
Liza (19 Y.O.): Well, he loves hotdogs…
Fem (13 Y.O.): But hotdogs are not good for him!
Me (33): (to Liza) Will he eat anything else?
Liza: It’s been mostly hotdogs.
Fem: (hissing at this point) He might get type 2 diabetes! Those are cancer dogs!
Me: (to Luke) What do you think?
Luke (2 Y.O.): Hotdogs!
Luke and Liza won that round. My little health Nazi was fuming in one corner and there I was giving the kids a quick kiss and ran out the door, for once relieved to face the morning rush. Don’t get me wrong. They’re both healthy. Luke consumes more veggies than his sister but asks for Coke sometimes. Fem only drinks water and milk and loves fruits. But they both agree that oatmeal cookies are the bomb.
How did it get to the point where I let a toddler decide? A few years back when it was just Fem and me, I would be at the produce section, her menu for the week in hand and hotdogs wouldn’t be on it. It didn’t help that she was so picky. So my workaround was, let her be picky as long as the choices on the dinner table were all whole unprocessed foods. Did that make me feel like a good parent? Hell, yeah!
Fast forward to now, single mom (again) to a son this time, I seem to be more relaxed and lenient to my son’s whims. Coke and hotdogs? Sure. In fact, I’m not as OC as I was when I was raising my little girl. Am I guilty of coddling my son? I hope not! I disdain the fact that a LOT of older generation Filipino moms have produced boys instead of men. So why does it feel like I’m becoming one of them? Why do I feel so guilty? I felt terrible that it was the best I could do that morning. But then again, it’s lesser evil to let him have something he likes than have him hungry the whole day.
Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I know hotdogs are not a factor in shaping the kind of man I want my son to be. Good guidance and parenting would.
But I can’t ignore the wisdom and the push that Fem wants on healthier eating either. What I feed my family seems to be reflection of what my beliefs are as a parent at that moment. Maybe that’s why I’m banging my head against the wall.
Regardless, I will still instill the same values as when I started parenting (that was sooooo long ago and where IS the manual?!)
And they are:
· We’re honest and respectful to each other.
· Please and thank-you in generous portions, please.
· No finger painting on the wall unless mom taped butcher paper on it (in that case, knock yourselves out)
· You should try all house chores but specialize in one you enjoy the most.
· Alternative music is NOT classical music, dear daughter.
· Trying a new dish mom cooked means you’ve placed a generous portion in your mouth, masticated it, swallowed it, showed mama you’re empty mouth and do the cycle 5 more times before you decide it’s not rocking your world.
· Kisses on boo-boos is a magical cure-all that sadly expires by the time you reach first grade or when the gash requires stitches.
· An older child should not and will NOT copy a younger siblings tactic to get mom to cave in.
· The youngest should not employ tried and tested tactics by the said older sibling to see if it works; if caught, my-sister-told-me-to-do-it excuse will not guarantee immunity from repercussions (Yeah, what do you know Luke, you eat paper)
· Words and hands can hurt.
· Positive discipline, yo!
So, can I forgive myself now? Let me know I’m not alone in this.