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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Red Carpet Parenting


Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We are in the season of red carpets and award ceremonies. I, like most gawky Americans love to check out the dresses, the smooth looks and sassy shoes that surround events like the Grammys and People’s Choice Awards. Then, as if I was some sort of professional fashionista, I critique and spew judgment over million dollar dresses and expensive jewels. As if what I think about what is worn in California has anything to do with, well, anything.
 
Then I switch off the television, turn my attention to my kids, tuck them in bed, kiss their foreheads and profess my love to them as their eyelids grow heavy with innocent exhaustion.
 
And I think to myself this motherhood thing is the performance of my life! Where’s my red carpet?
 
Wouldn’t it be something if just for one night, parents everywhere could get all dressed up and walk that glamorous stroll from the limo to the big event while little clips from our own personal highlight reel light up the big screen? We’d see daddies pushing their kids at the park, mommies snuggling feverish daughters and grandmas rocking their sweet, new heiress in freshly painted nurseries.
 
I can’t help but think that if someone would take the time to honor the good work that you and I’ve done, we would have the energy we need to keep pushing through when the job of parenting begins to take its toll.
 
Can you imagine it? Can you picture what it would do for your soul if your name was called and you were given props for that stellar performance you gave that one time, during that rehearsal, or at that parent teacher conference, last year, when the times were tough?
 

Actors get awards. Athletes do too. Why can’t parents? I imagine it is because they’d have to pay us millions of dollars. You and I have no contract and no big fat paychecks and yet we continue to do the most arguably difficult job on the entire planet. 
 
Would you parent differently if you knew that your best parenting moment would be caught on tape and replayed for the entire world to see? I would. I think that might change my whole outlook. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would constantly be trying to up my game every day. "Didn't do so great yesterday, Sikorski? No problem,” I’d tell myself, “You always got tomorrow.”
 
Clearly I’m letting my imagination run wild.  The Parent Emmys are nowhere near production anytime soon and yet the biggest motivating factor remains - our children.
 
No one is ever going to stop you on the street and commend the fantastic way you handled that temper tantrum. The papers won’t write about your heroic efforts to save the Frisbee off the garage roof for the 10th time this week. Your name will never be etched on a ‘Parent of the Year’ trophy but that can't stop us.
 
Everyday your child wakes up and places his or her trust in you, demanding your best efforts. Will you love them unconditionally? Will you steer and guide them even when it bristles their sensibility? Will you provide food that nourishes and support that encourages? Or will you treat each new day as if it’s just another in a life long punishment?
 
Perhaps that is why I enjoy childhood so very much. My kids give me a fresh chance everyday. If I messed up yesterday, if the house is a mess, if we ran out of milk again, they don’t hold it against me. They still look to me for help and provision. They never think I’m going to ruin it for them. They keep having hope in me.
 
Even when I don’t.
 
I may not have a big award ceremony to attend but I do have the sweet faces of my kids to look forward to every new morning. Their faith in me is what keeps me going. It is what makes me want to bring my best performance everyday. Granted I don’t. I often loose patience and blow it. But when I do, they forgive me and we all move on. 

I could learn a lot about forgiveness from my children.
 
So while no one rolls out a red carpet for us, pays us what we’re worth or engraves our name on trophy, I dare say our role as parents is a much more worthy performance than any academy could recognize. Forget the notoriety. As long as I give my kids my best there will be no greater award. Why? Because I’m the mom and I said so! That’s why!

Check out the original article for The Review Atlas here. Stephanie is an early childhood educator and a mother to five children. She would sincerely like just one night out. She enjoys public speaking and blogging at stephaniesikorski.blogspot.com.

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