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Just Winging It

Written By Brandy Centolanza

 I’ve had my fill of all the “expert” parenting articles that are circulating on Facebook. According to one article, I am doing a fine job of rearing my kids, but, no, wait. Another article covering the same topic insists my kids are bound to be royal screw ups. The final straw was an article I read last week about how to raise spoiled brats. The article suggested that coming to your child’s rescue when he/she forgets something for school ensures that you are spoiling your child. The very next day, my son called me because he forgot his recorder for music class. I hesitated, thinking of that article. But then I realized that I should bring the recorder with me since I was planning on going to the school for another matter anyway. To not bring it with me would just be mean. I also knew that if it had been my husband who forgot something and asked me to help, I would bring it to him, just as I would hope someone would help me in such a pickle. So that is what I did. Now, does this mean that my son is going to grow up to be one of these selfish, entitled, bratty adults that this particular article implies? And just what kind of parent am I anyway? Most days, I feel pretty confident in my abilities as a mom, but there are days when I definitely say and do things I shouldn’t. I think I am doing a pretty decent job of this parenting thing when they get on and off the school bus each day with smiles on their faces. Now, am I going to swoop in when some other kid on that school bus sticks out his tongue at my children or calls them a silly name they don’t like? Probably not, but I will and have intervened when a classmate is saying inappropriate things to my daughter and isn’t sharing school supplies, making it uncomfortable and difficult for her to do her school work. Does that make me a helicopter mom? You know, I won’t force my kids to take up a sport or an instrument they don’t like but I will yell and make (empty) threats to get my kids to do what I need them to do or to behave how I need them to behave, especially when we are out in public. So, does that make me a tiger mom? Parenting does not come with a set of rules, and some days I am simply clueless as to how to react or respond to my children. What do I do when my kids engage in a shouting match over the remote control while I am in the middle of doing laundry and cooking dinner and the phone rings with the source I need to speak to for a story I am working on that is due the next day? What do I do when my daughter has a meltdown because she is struggling to put the cap back on the tube of toothpaste and we have to be out the door to catch the school bus? Or when she melts down in the middle of Sketchers because she wants us to buy her a $50 pair of shoes that don’t fit her not because she likes the shoes but because she likes the flashy, shiny shoebox that comes with a comic book. (All true stories, people!). What do I do? I wing it. That’s what I do. I make things up on the fly to get everyone to be calm and sane again. It may take yelling, threatening, bribery, trickery, or empathizing, depending on the day, time, child, and situation. It’s my own, unique way of parenting. It’s not me being a tiger mom, a dolphin mom, or a helicopter mom. It’s me being human.