The Business of Parenting

I worked in an office for a while, where everything is measured, examined, discussed. Every single thing can be evaluated. I feel this creeping into homes. “How can we best manage our home lives for maximum productivity?”
It’s easy to turn parenting into a business. Most parenting books and articles mimic business advice about how to get the best return on your investment. It’s easy to focus on how to raise the best product…I mean…child.

This year, I am trying to not read parenting articles and comments. I’m trying. I’m not doing great….

I don’t want to turn into someone who says, “screw it, I’m going to do what I think is best, to Hell with what everyone else thinks”. Or something else that completely dismisses the idea that there might be a better way to do things.

On the flip side, I don’t want to spend each moment thinking about how I could, “do that moment better next time”. That will slowly (or quickly) drive me insane.

For example- here is a normal 15 minute period for me

I talked to my daughter about jobs today. Asked her what she thinks she wants to be when grows up.
I was supposed to ask her what problem she wants to solve.

I told my daughter she looked pretty.
Ugh. I’m not supposed to comment on her appearance, I want her to know that her value is in who she is, not how she looks

I told my daughter to eat her green beans
I should have let her eat naturally without pushing certain foods. Conversation should flow and children should be allowed to stop eating when they are full.

I told my daughter “don’t do that”.
I was supposed to tell her “do this instead”, giving her choices.

I told my daughter “good job”
I was supposed to specifically address what she did well.

I asked my daughter what she wants to wear.
I shouldn’t have implied that her outfit is more important than other things.

I told my daughter, “I like your art”
I should’ve said “What do you think about it?”, letting her know that I care more about what she thinks about her creation.

I’m trying to find the balance between learning from what I hear outside my home and from my own heart and mind. It’s a hard balance to find. I’m not there yet, and I’m not sure if I will ever be. I always want to do things the best way possible, and I don’t think there is necessarily a “best way” to live your life.

Being in an office was easier in that aspect. I had clear cut goals, deadlines, measurements. I don’t have those at home.

I still find myself measuring my days success in terms of “I did 3 loads of laundry, baked 2 loaves of bread, cleaned the bathrooms, gave 16 hugs, etc etc”.

I’m not totally sure how to break away from that. To get away from examining and evaluating.

I am pretty confident that one step is to spend less time reading comments online. So I’ll keep working on that. And trying to be kind to myself.

One thought on “The Business of Parenting

  1. So glad I stumbled upon! Good read – I feel you on the metrics and the critical way we look at even the tiniest moments of parenting – and the pressure to do so (that I, at least, feel.) To cope: I choose half of the rhetoric, and the other half I try and laugh at, or at least laugh along with. It makes me feel better to self-deprecate, to embrace shortcomings, and to turn imperfections into a special little thing ‘about’ our family. And that isn’t a quality that would translate well into an office environment (at all); but trying to be only half of the parent the internet/parenting book/employee-version of me, would want me to be is the only thing keeping me sane. Cheers 🙂

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