You are not terrible!

A few days ago I came across this blog post via a friend on Facebook. I read it while I was putting my youngest daughter to bed and it stayed with me –  To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud - I wanted to let Steve know that not everyone feels like him, that he is not a terrible parent just like he says he isn’t but he is taking a risk…

I agree with Steve in many ways. I agree that those that go to work are not terrible parents, I agree that some parents are luckier than others on their children’s eating habits, I agree that being a parent is tiring because it is not a controlled situation – children wake up in the middle of the night, they cry, get upset, want to play when they should be asleep, need feeding, need changing, need dressing – need, need, need!

Here’s the thing – Steve, an adult, who seems educated and actually a good person spent 7 years trying to be a parent, did he think that children are born already taught?

Steve, do you not have your own habits, peculiarities, demands? Your son, who like Steve Jobs (as you mentioned) is so peculiar, would he have just been born like this? And so what? So what if he wants his plate or cup or whatever in a certain place? If this was your boss (since you call parenting a job) would you be writing a blog about him or would you be worried that he would read it and give you the boot?

No you wouldn’t Steve, you think it’s ok and funny and acceptable and NOT TERRIBLE to moan about your children because they are not going to sit you down and give you a run down of how you are doing your ‘job’ and do an appraisal on you! I’m certain that, like any other human being, you will have your good and bad points and your children accept them and love you unconditionally and they wouldn’t do a drawing of you at your worst.

I can see clearly that you love and are devoted to your children and that you are not a terrible parent but there’s something else you are doing – you are taking your children for granted! You are taking for granted their existence, their being, them coming down to you every morning, them being able to be themselves – demanding, peculiar, mischievous but also in your own words ‘delightful’.

I’m not going to hit you with the odds here – you are all fine and  hopefully will make it to old age and your children will be healthy and look after you (and I sincerely hope so) and when this happens and you are old and demanding and set on your own ways I hope none of them sits down to write a blog on the demands and how tired to the bone they are from looking after you. It would make you sad, I am sure.

I am going to tell you that some parents, like myself and so many others I know, have very different demands to meet for their children, they include medicines, feeding tubes, physiotherapy  doctors, hospitals, seizures, operations, grief and loss.

Parents like us are not ‘unlucky’ or so ‘rare’. The actual condition that affects our family is indeed extremely ‘rare’ but I have been to children’s hospitals a few times now and I can tell you that I have seen 2 years old as well as 13 years old who suffered strokes, 11 years old who had brain surgery, new borns with severe pneumonia,  a boy who turned 18 with a metal frame around his face and now incapable of moving at all, his duvet has pictures of him playing rugby… These are children of parents who wish they had their children being peculiar and demanding in the natural way. They are parents who are exhausted for the lack of normality, the worry, the anxiety, the fear for their children’s lives. They are parents who regret those times when they have ever felt that it’s not terrible to look forward to bed time. I would invite you, Steve, to read an old blog post of mine that touches this subject – We chose happiness instead. The cruel reality is that it can happen to anyone, to any parent, to any child. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, good or bad, if you have had a difficult life or faced hard times. I can tell you, because I know a lot of these parents, that it happens regardless.

I have a younger daughter, she is little still, and I know that she does not suffer from the same disease as her sister does, this is a relief of course, but it is not a guarantee! I don’t take her for granted, ever! I don’t wake up everyday thinking that I might lose her as I know I will lose my eldest, this is not what I am suggesting to you either, but whenever I have to get up for the 20th time because she is going back to that wire that is dangerous or am struggling for her to eat something that she devours when her dad is feeding her, I stop for a second and remember that I am her mother, I wished for her and conceived her and by bringing her to the world it is my ‘job’ to guide her, teach her and deal with her peculiarities, her demands, her being.

Being a parent is many times compared to a job (just like Steve does) and if it is to be so then it is the most important one in anyone’s career as it affects our children’s lives. If you have the job of a lifetime you work hard, you work long hours, you are proud and you tell everyone what you do. You won’t complain about your boss openly as you are too afraid to lose it, it is precious! Parenting should be all of this and more but most importantly not one to be taken for granted!

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Reply
    The Bumbling Mama May 6, 2013

    I understand what you are trying to say, but I think this only perpetuates the feelings of failure in so many parents for simply being human. Just because you have kids does not make you perfect and we all have our days that we’re going to struggle with more than others. Whether it’s a blog, or venting to friends, or writing a journal, we all need our outlets on the tough days so we can release the negativity and frustration. Odds are, his kids will look back on this post and not see their father griping about them but see that he was simply human and being a parent is not always the easiest thing to do.

  2. Reply
    Mom May 31, 2013

    Hello,
    With all due respect to your precious daughter, and to your family for all that you are going through, I feel that your article was quite harsh and uncalled for.
    I came to your blog after first having read Steve’s article on parenting 4 smal children. Steve’s article was outstanding, in my opinion. Does that make him any less of a parent, any less of a kind human being, any less of a considerate person, loving dad, absolutely not !

    Steve’s article was written from the heart and with a sense of humor that we sometimes need to get through a hectic day with 4 children. And being a Teacher of special needs children (working one on one), I myself, have seen what families go through, and Im sure as a teacher, I only see a small fraction of what these families go through. But nonetheless my heart is with them, I adore these children, and these families. Ive laughed with parents and Ive cried with parents. Ive hugged these precious children, and Ive laughed with them too.
    But does that make me a terrible parent if I sometimes feel overwhelmed at home? I work with children, and come home to my own full house of children. I adore them all. I have chosen each of these parts of my life which I love wholeheartedly, but isnt it human nature to acknowledge our feelings, to reach limits and to share our feelings with others? Isnt it human nature to joke around about things we might be struggling with, even if just for a day or a few hours, like Steve wrote about, like so so so many have related to instantly ?
    I feel that your article was very judgemental and very harsh. I was taken aback at your words towards Steve. at how you gave him a guilt trip for feeling how he feels, and how many of us feel. a “shame on you” from another parent, just what we need. and for what reason? what did he do or say that was so horrible ? Im just speechless that you brought in your precious daughter’s condition (as a guilt trip) into a lighthearted, fun article about parenting several children (especially all boys-a hectic household..) for comparing two completely different situations that have no comparison, for assuming that someone is unappreciative and insensitive and a “terrible parent”….
    Steve’s article wasnt about seeing which parents have it tougher than others. It wasnt about not appreciating or acknowledging the many many families who struggle day to day. Trust me, many days, I say to myself (even yesterday) my “rough days” are still blessings, Im blessing to have healthy children, Im blessed to have children, Im blessed to be a mom”…but that doesnt take away the fact that yes, all parents have rough days, regardless of our situations, and we are entitled to feel the way we feel and react the way we react and share and laugh and cry if we need to.
    I wish your daughter all the best, I will keep her in my prayers. My heart goes out to you as a mom of a special needs children. But please understand that all parents have hearts, feelings and need a soft place to fall (or a pantry to hide in :) regardless of their situation. We all have different limits and different ways of reacting to life’s circumstances, and we all should be accepting of each other in that respect.

    • Reply
      Patricia Durao Lewi May 31, 2013

      Thank you for reading my article and commenting.

      You got me all wrong, at no point did I say that Steve is a bad parent or a bad person I said the opposite and said it quite clearly. And no the situations are not different we are parents to different children simply. I have a young child too who many times is testing and I stop myself and think she is the child and I am the mother and embrace exactly who she is.

      I spend most of my time loving and having fun with my children (when I am not working or helping run a charity) and no I am not perfect, and I don’t aim to be because I don’t believe in perfection, may be that’s my secret! I also cry everyday about my child that is increasingly worse and whose life is running to an end. Would you find appropriate if I wrote a blog on how annoying it is to wake up to her seizures or to have to give her medicines and carry them around, or how boring it is now that she cannot walk or see properly and so we really have to work out ways to really stimulate her? Would this make you feel better and go more in line with the hardships of running around after healthy children which I do with my youngest child anyway?

      Where do I say in my article that parents are terrible? Parents set their own expectations and have this idea of ‘perfect’ in their heads. There is no ‘perfect’ parent and no ‘perfect’ child. It is not me who set those ideas. Perhaps those who spend their lives being guilty should work out why that is, and spend more time thinking on how to make it work the best they can. Sometimes it will be to success and some to failure and that’s life! Where do I say that you are not entitled to be upset, cry or hide in the pantry? What I said is that perhaps Steve shouldn’t be so caught up on his son’s peculiarities as he calls it because that’s what makes him his son. I don’t judge people’s feelings or how they feel I judge that they judge their children and no I don’t take it lightly that he made it into humour in that sense – not his feelings, his children – there’s a difference.

      My aim was that all the ‘Steves’ in the world don’t one day sit by a hospital bed and regret the well humoured blogs they wrote about their children and wish deeply that their child could go back to do the things that he humoured about.

      I appreciate your comment and no I didn’t ‘use’ my daughter’s condition to guilt trip anyone. Firstly because however Steve chooses to raise and deal with his children will not affect my life or her condition, secondly because I didn’t mention just my daughter as if a calamity happened just to me and I want the world to be sad and feel unhappy. You will read the opposite – I mentioned the several children I have encountered on my way that have their struggles. By pointing out what I thought wasn’t fair on his children I would hope that Steve would stop for a minute and take those moments and make them something better, and enjoy and laugh and be happier.

      But you are right, I do have enough on my plate so it really is not my job to enlighten people. Why should I? In the end of the day I actually don’t go to the pantry to cry for the same reasons and you clearly think that we are different as parents because my child is ill.

      So I am sorry for all the tears and the exhaustion you go through. Don’t feel sorry for me though – I have two beautiful children that I love and one will be here for a short period of time so thank you for your comment as it made me realise that I shouldn’t be waisting my time trying to make others see what is so clear to me!

      I wish you and your family all the best.

    • Reply
      Amber Ruczko May 31, 2013

      Thank you to ‘Mom’ and ‘The Bumbling Mama’ for your comments, and for not perpetuating the “mommy guilt”. We are hard enough on ourselves; we definitely don’t need help in that respect. What we do all need is more encouraging and uplifting words, and less comparison to anyone else’s life. I, like Steve, have 3 boys 5 and under. Just because I get frustrated sometimes, or am at a complete loss as to how to get my 3 year old to behave in public, does not negate in any way, my love for them. And it certainly does not mean I am taking them for granted. Ever. And I don’t understand how anyone that has children, and has known the deep, raw, unconditional love that a parent has for their child could accuse another of such.

  3. Reply
    Patricia Durao Lewi May 31, 2013

    What is this guilt that you all go on about? What do you feel guilty of?
    I am not comparing anyone to my life, believe me! If anything you are comparing yourselves to me.
    All I was saying is to enjoy your children for what they are and embrace them, that was all!
    I am not going to point my finger at you for feeling tired, or upset or crying or screaming, why would I?
    What I don’t think it’s acceptable is to complain about the way your children are as people. As I don’t think you would be very happy if your children grow up and complain about you as a parent or as a person, would you?

    I am a scary parent, I get it! My apologies for that!

    What exactly is my accusation Amber?

    I have said again and again that I get what Steve is saying and that he is a good and devoted parent. All I said is that he is taking for granted the little things – good and not so good – that makes his children his own, and I believe in this!

    You are all reading what you want to read and doing to me what you dislike others do to you…

    Anyway I keep my stance and I don’t think any of you are bad parents and I am not judging Steve as a parent – I don’t know Steve.

    I will get on with it and I am certain you all will too!

  4. Reply
    cfg May 31, 2013

    Hi Patricia,

    With all due respect, you are being judgmental towards Steve and you are comparing your life and experience with his.

    Steve never complained about who his children were as people. He was talking about the universal frustration that parents have with people telling them that they need to enjoy every moment they have with their children. This is impossible. You can love your children and not take them for granted and still not enjoy being with them all the time.

    You’ve accused Steve of taking his children for granted, and that is a very harsh accusation. It is also judgmental. Children grow up and complain about their parents ALL THE TIME. It’s a fact of life. People complain about their family, and it has nothing to do with anybody taking anyone for granted.

    I hope that you’re able to realize this and realize that your reaction is stemming from your experience as a parent, not from some universal truth.

  5. Reply
    Mom of 2 young boys June 5, 2013

    Patricia, I think you missed the point of Steve’s article COMPLETELY. He is describing the feelings that every other parent of young kids feel from time to time. Small kids are very demanding and can leave parents exhausted at the end of the day. This is compounded when you have a child who’s personality is such that he likes things done in a very specific way (my 7 yr old son is exactly the same). It’s physically and mentally exhausting. I still love him with all my heart and certainly don’t take him for granted, but there are days that I just need a break from him…for the sake of both of us! Steve was not complaining about the fact his kids are the way they are…little and demanding…he was speaking honestly about the limits that every parent reaches. Parents are not machines that can give and give and give all the time. Sometimes we reach a limit and we just need a break. The fact that so many parents can relate to his article proves that we all feel this way, and we actually GOT what he was saying. There’s far too much judgement in your article…honesty met with reality goes a long way!

  6. Reply
    Patricia Durao Lewi June 5, 2013

    Ladies, thank you all for coming and reading my post and as you can see I have approved your comments.
    I understand fully what Steve is trying to say on the demands of being a parent as I am one too – therefor border line offensive that you “Mom of 2 young boys’ are explaining to me how it feels.
    Also please note that although I do not agree with Steve on the way he sees parenthood to some respect I did not go to his blog and called him ‘judgemental’ on the parents that tell him to enjoy it because they believe in that.
    So as I respect you all who share Steve’s views you have to respect that I don’t feel the same, I have read and made my view known to Steve via my own space so that in the same way he let others know how you all feel I have let him know how me and others feel towards it.
    I would appreciate that your due respect really is that. I haven’t been disrespectful to anyone or Steve as in fact I haven’t called Steve anything and mentioned several times that he is a good parent and that he seems indeed to be devoted.
    I do not complain about my parents on blogs, I will mention to my parents their peculiarities on their face and we make a joke about it and discuss it in a healthy manner as a family, I would not like it to be a blog as I am certain they wouldn’t either.
    I think ultimately we are all very different and have to agree to disagree.
    To me there is only a universal truth – we are born, we die and life is anything in between.

  7. Reply
    Patricia Durao Lewi June 5, 2013

    Ladies, thank you all for coming and reading my post and as you can see I have approved your comments.
    I understand fully what Steve is trying to say on the demands of being a parent as I am one too – therefor border line offensive that you “Mom of 2 young boys’ are explaining to me how it feels.
    Also please note that although I do not agree with Steve on the way he sees parenthood to some respect I did not go to his blog and called him ‘judgemental’ on the parents that tell him to enjoy it because they believe in that.
    So as I respect you all who share Steve’s views you have to respect that I don’t feel the same, I have read and made my view known to Steve via my own space so that in the same way he let others know how you all feel I have let him know how me and others feel towards it.
    I would appreciate that your due respect really is that. I haven’t been disrespectful to anyone or Steve as in fact I haven’t called Steve anything and mentioned several times that he is a good parent and that he seems indeed to be devoted.
    I do not complain about my parents on blogs, I will mention to my parents their peculiarities on their face and we make a joke about it and discuss it in a healthy manner as a family, I would not like it to be a blog as I am certain they wouldn’t either.
    I think ultimately we are all very different and have to agree to disagree.
    To me there is only a universal truth – we are born, we die and life is anything in between.

  8. Reply
    Daniel Lewi June 5, 2013

    I can not believe all these comments people are making to my wife Patricia! You all need to actually read what she said, and not what you think she said.

    She was not rude about this guy, she simply had an opinion. Now, you are attacking her for having an opinion and think it is appropriate to come onto her blog and say these quite frankly nasty things.

    Take a look in the mirror ladies and actually have a read about what this blog is about. Basically, considering our position as a family, we are very sensitive to people who are rude about their children. I personally cringe whenever I see a father reading a newspaper when he is out with his child having coffee on a Sunday morning (as you know most of you send your husbands out with the kids to have “quality” time on a Sunday morning – this is what they actually do). I get even angrier when I see mothers let their children play computer games at the table at restaurants (most do it) so they don’t make a scene. How about teaching them not to make a scene? I’m not saying you are all like this, it is merely my opinion. However, it is one I generally keep to myself and would never say to your face, even if you were my friend. It is something I would talk about with my wife, at home, in priviate.

    One thing I most definitely would not do is go to a ladies blog which is about her experiences, emotions and feelings of being a mother (a great one at that) to a terminally ill child and make outrageous and quite frankly rude and upsetting comments. Nope, never. Never ever would I do that. Not like you all. I think it’s because I have respect, morals and most importantly compassion. Also, you have no idea what it is like to watch your child slowly die in front of you. You should probably read up about Tay-Sachs and actually what happens to a child suffering from it. You won’t understand what we as a family are going through (that is imposible unless your child is suffering from something similar), but I would like to think you may keep your smartarse comments to yourself afterwards

    Before you say “oh, you are just making it about your terminally ill child” I beg to differ. Rather than be negative about life (like this Steve fella and yourselves) we have looked at the positives and do many fun things together. Oh, and we also set up a charity which provides support to other families affected by the disease. Now, if those of the actions of negative, self-centered and opinionated people then I don’t know where we have gone wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>