The following article was from a column I wrote and was published in the Wasaga Sun on July 16, 1997.
I was a better parent when I didn’t have children.
My hypothetical children never tantrummed in public. They were incredibly polite. They were never out of control. They didn’t climb on the dinner table when we had company. They were model citizens in restaurants. Nothing escaped my eagle eye.
After visits by family and friends who have children, my husband and I would lay in bed discussing what we would do differently. Our children were perfect.
Now that we have some of our own, I’ve discovered that our children are perfect, we’re not.
The time we spent analyzing parenting techniques was beneficial, it allowed us to discuss and solve differences in our approaches. We became solid and united before our children were born. It improved our parenting skills.
On the other hand, when the hypothetical situation became reality, we found ourselves in many situations that our friends and family members had been in.
It’s difficult to be consistent with a sick, grumpy child when you are dead on your feet from lack of sleep. Occasionally, sitting for five minutes is more important than physically intervening with a toddler who is playing with your plants.
Depending on the situation, a temper tantrum may need hugs instead of reprimands. Sometimes it’s important to allow children to make their own mistakes and realize the consequences – in a safe environment.
Variables. I couldn’t list them all.
The biggest lesson I learned is parenting is much simpler when you don’t have kids!