Being a parent is a lot of work.
I think I just made the understatement of my life. Similar to saying I'm sort of tired and I work a lot and Our house is a little messy.
Parenting is intensely rewarding. The milestones, the memories, the overwhelmingly happy moments.
But it is also grueling and many times, thankless. There are no gold stars, promotions, or pay raises. Sometimes it feels like there's not even any seniority.
I'm pretty sure that most parents would agree with me.
Which is why I don't understand why we are so quick to criticize each other.
Obviously there are things that are completely wrong. But most things are just a matter of style.
So when I get comments from other parents like You let your children eat processed wheat and sugar before they were a year old (or ever.) or You let them stay up past 8 pm or You let them play in the fully fenced backyard by themselves or You whatever, I don't understand.
Most of us are doing the best we can. Very few of us are perfect parents. There will be speed bumps and potholes along the way. There are for everyone. So criticizing each other for little things like when we introduced cow's milk or what time we set for bedtime doesn't make a lot of sense.
I was having lunch with some medical school friends several years ago and we talked about our childhood. Someone talked about how they had their own organic garden and never owned a television and went to the best private school. Another friend shrugged her shoulders and said that she had been raised on after school specials, white bread, and Twinkies. The funny thing is, we all ended up in the same place.
I do try to limit television, encourage fruits and vegetables, and develop creativity and curiosity. Do they watch more television than I would like? Yes. Do they always go to bed on time? No. Do they end up crying over having to eat green beans and snarf down donuts? Yes.
But I think that as long as I love my children and am involved in their lives, that counts for more than anything else.