I've never denied it.
As a teacher for many, many years, I saw parenting styles that made me cringe. Don't get me wrong...I saw far, far more that gave (and still give) me some of the best parenting examples I know.
But some. Oh, some...some made me so angry.
Sick, literally, if I am honest. Just complete and total disgust for some people who totally took for granted the precious children they'd been given.
Of course, I knew that would NEVER, EVER be me.
And obviously, it's not.
I've come to realize, though, that I still am "That Mom," and you know what?
I dig it.
You know her. You know you do. She's the one you look at and think, "Wow. The AAP recommends no TV for children under two and that kid is watching an iPad at Olive Garden. OMG."
"That Mom" who gives her kid juice without it being watered down.
"That Mom" who lets her kid stay up waaaaaayyyyyyyyy later than he probably should because we are all having too good a time visiting and as long as he's not crying, good enough for me. Yes, we may pay for it the next day...but the memories made the night before?
I'm the mom who gives in and gives her kid a cookie at 8:30 in the morning.
He has an iTouch and works it like a champ.
Yep, we take it with us to restaurants, and he plays with it and watches videos (the same handful of Sesame Street, WonderPets and YoGabba we have seen a hundred times).
I bribe him.
To wear his coat. To sit still for half a second to take a picture. To sit on the potty. To give Daddy a kiss.
The boy loves his Skittles and Smarties.
I take him to therapy to work on feeding skills. Yes, there is such a thing.
Yes, people laugh at me and think I am hovering over him and can't believe I'd waste good money on trying to get a picky toddler to eat.
I don't care.
I used to.
But I don't anymore.
My kid is happy. He is healthy. Given a handful of cookies or brownies over a handful of cheerios, he'd choose cheerios because they were 'safe' and 'known'. Don't believe me? Ask his therapist. She tells me every time we go that a 'picky' eater would gobble up what he was holding out for and Luke will take a bite of cookie, decide it's not the cookie he is familiar with, and be done with it.
There's more to him not eating than him just being a picky toddler.
And I don't care if anyone believes that or not.
I think I've spent the better part of his life trying very, very hard not to be 'judged' as a parent. Not to be too overprotective and give people the pleasure of saying, "Well, she's just that way because...well, you know...she needs to get over that so that Luke will have a 'normal' childhood."
Or, I've known that Luke has his little 'quirks', and the teacher in me has been working feverishly at home with him and all sorts of sensory integration exercises so that he's 'normal' to everyone. To my friends. My family. My colleagues.
Every day, I realize more and more that he really is going to be it. The one I get to raise. The one I pour everything into.
And I am completely, completely, completely ok being "That Mom."
Life is too short. And I could be Mom Of The Year and someone, somewhere would still judge me. There is never, ever pleasing everyone, so as long as John and I raise Luke to be the man God wants him to be, I'm happy.
Luke knows he is loved. He has a wonderful, wonderful life. We often joke about how nice it would be to live the "Life of Luke!" because basically, it rocks.
Every decision I make is made in his best interest. Could I be more hardcore?
Sure I could. And every time I get "That Look" or hear "That Tone" of voice from another mom, I cringe a little and wonder whether or not my "Mom" account just lost a ton of points.
But no more. Tonight John said something...I don't even remember what it was, but my response was, "So what? I'm completely ok with the parenting I do."
And I am.
So he has a love affair with Skittles?
He has an amazing vocabulary. He already has a hysterical sense of humor. He is focused. He is driven. He has a wonderful attention span. He has manners. He's sweet to kitties and puppies. He loves to read and he can entertain himself for long periods of time. He sings songs about Jesus and smiles at me like I am the most brilliant thing he's ever seen.
Good enough for me.