Last night Bill and I had dinner with good friends. They’re a few years behind us with their five kids 12 and below. If we joined forces, we’d have 12 kids from 21 to 5 months. Needless to say, you can understand why we left them at home.
(Disclaimer: This picture is of the Lam Fam with us YEARS ago. Just to give you a visual of what it’s like to go out to dinner with 12 kids.)
So, after a bit of catch up, they started asking questions, parenting questions.
“Do your kids bicker, or is it just us?”
“Will we ever sleep again?”
“What do y’all do about dating?”
“Does it really go by in the blink of an eye because the days seem really, really long?”
And then, the mother of all parenting questions … “Will we ever have sex again?”
And with these friends, we explored these questions. ‘Cause they are friends. AND because they asked. But any one of these questions could start a war, or at least close down a friendship.
Because with some people, the answers might go something like this.
“Our kids don’t bicker. It must just be you. When they raise their eyebrows at each other, here’s what you do …”
“Well, you’d sleep better if Sarah, Sassy, and Sasha slept with you. Co-sleeping. That’s what we do and we are all so close now.”
“Dating? Our kids will never date. They’ll court. If a guy wants to court my daughter, he has to be prepared to share his intentions with me and pay off the mortgage on his first house … in cash.”
“The days seem long to you? For me they just sail by. Reading Are You My Mother 30 times each day gives me such joy. I have such a sense of purpose in what I do. I’m sorry that’s not your experience.”
“Sex? We can’t get enough of it. Isn’t that what afternoon naps are for?” 😉 😉
Ridiculous, right? But, if we’re really honest, we all want a parenting prescription. We want a parenting pill that is going to make our kids behave, and eat their vegetables, and play nicely with their sister.
We want to know that if we do X and Y then we’re going to get Z. We want a parenting prescription that is going to promise us that it’s all going to turn out just fine. But, it just doesn’t work that way.
The best parenting advice I know comes in the vernacular of my 18 year old’s texting lingo. Are you ready? Here it is.
In case you don’t read text, I’ll translate that. You be you.
“If co-sleeping with Sarah, and Sassy, and Sasha works for your family … go for it. UBU.”
“If you’ve trained your kids to respond to your raised eyebrow … fabulous. UBU.”
“If you’ve figured out how to fry up bacon in the pan every single afternoon … you go, girl. UBU.”
UBU. But don’t put all that on me. And don’t put it on anyone else either. Don’t give me your parenting prescriptions.
God chose you to be the mother of your children. And, if you’re married, he chose your husband to be their father.
Together, the two of you talk about your personality, your preferences, what makes you together as a couple unique. Talk about what is fun for you, what makes you mad, what makes you sad. Talk about your quirks, and your characteristics, and all the beauty of who you together are.
If you’re doing this single, first of all, oh my goodness. You have my utmost respect. Second of all, spend some time thinking through these things by yourself. Or better yet, with a friend who knows you well.
Decide to stop looking for parenting prescriptions and simply let UBU. And let all of this beauty spill into the lives of your children.
So, there’s my best parenting advice. UBU and ditch the parenting prescriptions. What do you think?