Parenting Roads

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I have written no less than three follow-up posts about how I’m feeling about our hard school experience.  My editor (Mike) has vetoed them all, determining that there is not much to be learned from them. Agreeing that my  “processing” is really of no help to anyone but me, I’ve agreed they are better left in the draft file.


So, instead of talking about all the things I consider Greysen’s school could have done differently, I have decided to put the mirror right here.


Actually, I started thinking about my parenting one night when Greysen asked me what the lyric, “We know these roads because we paved them” meant as we sat together listening to some music before bed.  I took a hard swallow and searched for a simple explanation.


I said something like, “To me, it means that everyone makes decisions, and that we have to live with the consequences of those decisions. We can change our lives, but we need to do something differently than we have been for that to happen.”



Arrogance or Ignorance?

Honestly, I’m not sure whether it was arrogance or naïveté that led me to think that I would experience few, if any, struggles with parenting in the first years. I thought that based on my experiences, knowledge, and years of longing for children, that these first three years would be nothing but joyful.


Before kids, Mike would glance my way, eyebrow raised in question at the sight of a child struggling. Convinced it would be different for us, I would come in close and would explain things we – as parents – would do differently than we were seeing being done. Hypothetical problem solved.
The joy of having children has exceeded my imagination and my heart’s desires; however, there are were far more challenges than blogs, books, and experience could have prepared me for.


Try and try as we might, children are going to act in ways we wish they wouldn’t. This is as I expected. That’s growing. What I didn’t expect was that, try and try as we might, we as parents are going to act in ways we wish we wouldn’t.


We parent deliberately, but not perfectly.


There are no parenting milestones, progress reports, or any other ways to determine whether how we are parenting will develop the skills in our children that will help them be happy adolescents and healthy adults. There are no guarantees that for all the well-intentioned decisions we make, from health to education, that things will work out as we plan. Regardless, we continue to make deliberate efforts to parent in accordance with our heart and our instincts – to trust that the kind, respectful choices we make every day will set our children on a path where they live, love, and laugh.


  1. Shoshana says:

    This is such a meaningful, honest post. I also remember thinking how easy the first few years of parenting would be for me because of my experience and knowledge. I knew within moments of becoming a parents that I was wrong. I always try my best, and also sometimes wish I had dealt with situations differently. As much as I loved caring for other’s children, it doesn’t match the intensity of love and therefore the amount of pressure to “be the perfect parent” that I feel. It is reassuring to know that other early childhood professionals share the same parenting struggles that I face, because it can be very isolating when everyone looks at me and thinks that I am the professional and should always have perfect children and perfect responses to their needs, and is therefore less understanding when my child and I struggle.

    • Marisa says:

      Shoshana, yes I remember thinking that of one child development professor when she walked through the center. In retrospect, I see that it was a unfair judgement. Have you talked with others openly about the challenges? Parent to parent? I have found that regardless of experiences or my profession (former) that most parents can relate to one thing . . . parenting brings unexpected joys and challenges.

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