Good Parenting

Posted Jul 10 2012, 2:02 pm in , , ,

I had an odd conversation this weekend. At 9:30 Sunday morning, Trouble came into my bedroom. She reminded me that I promised to take her to McDonalds playland for breakfast. Then she went on to explain that she’d gotten caught up in watching a movie and didn’t pay attention to the time, but she really wanted to go for breakfast. Then … she tells me that Jim (not his real name), my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, was on the deck and wanted to talk to me.

My first thought — You should’ve led with that info, kid. 🙂

So I stumbled out of bed, still in my pajamas, and went to the deck. Although I invited him inside, Jim wanted to talk away from the kids. We got into a lengthy conversation, mostly him talking about how he’s not ready to give up on his relationship with my friend. It’s not my place to tell him that she’s really no longer interested and has moved on, so I just listened. It was interesting to hear how he interpreted their relationship because I certainly have her side of it and they really don’t match up. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they’d been in a relationship with different people.

But I digress (as usual). Part of their issue was that she would only carve out specific times for Jim. She has 3 sons and a mostly uninvolved ex-husband. For all intents and purposes, she’s both parents. Could she make more time for Jim? Sure, but she doesn’t want to. I can’t blame her. I’ve said lots of times that if I were to divorce, I don’t think I’d date at all. It’s too much work. 

Then Jim  said that he didn’t understand why she had to go to all of the boys’ games and activities (soccer, baseball, basketball, football, track, etc). He asked, “Does it make her a better mother if she goes to everything?”

That made me pause. Then he asked if I go to everything for my kids. I think he was hoping that I’d say no, but the truth is, pretty much, I do. I might miss something if 2 kids have something scheduled simultaneously, but then my husband and I are good at each taking one thing, so there’s still a parent there. Or sometimes, I catch part of both. 

Jim went on to say that then my friend would make family “field trips” on days when they could be free, and he didn’t see why she always needed to fill the schedule. I get that too. It’s not about filling the schedule, but when you spend the bulk of your time with your kids shuttling them here and there to do the things they want to do, sometimes, you just want to be able to hang out with them. Remarkably, we actually like our kids. And if we stay at home, they’ll do their own things. They won’t hang out with us. 

But if we’re at the zoo or a museum, they’re kind of like the captive audience they were as toddlers — they have to be with us.

Both my friend and I had uninvolved parents and I know that plays a huge role in us being part of our kids’ lives, but this conversation with Jim made me question helicopter parenting again. I talked about it awhile ago, and now I wonder again if I’m strange.

Do you attend all of your kids’ activities? If not, what pulls you away? Would you give up being at a kid’s game for a date?





2 responses to “Good Parenting”

  1. asraidevin says:

    I don’t miss things unless it’s something I cannot bring my 2 year old to and no one else can watch him. My partner does miss things because of work.

    It sounds like Jim is jealous and he’s probably not going to get how important her kids are to her. Therefore he’s always going to have a problem with her choices.

    i don’t think it’s helicoptering parenting. I don’t think helicopter parents question their parenting methods. (Watch Bubble Wrap Kids for examples- I was watching this morning and this lady made her 13 year old SON go to the ladies’ bathroom with her).

    • 13 is crazy for bringing your son into the women’s bathroom. I know I’m not that bad. My husband does tend to miss more of the kids’ things because of work, but when he’s here, he shows up.

      I agree that Jim is jealous. He’s a father with grown children, but he was a weekend, good time dad and he wants to compare that kind of parenting with someone who’s in charge of it all.