Very often I’ll be out with friends and of course, we start talking about our kids. While we certainly discuss the challenges we are facing, so much of the focus is on their successes. Who got straight As in school? Who got a purple belt in karate? Isn’t it great that little Billy is potty trained now? Don’t get me wrong — these things are all terrific, and kudos to the kids and their parents. However, sometimes it is important to focus on smaller successes. The things that may not seem all that important, but make me feel like I have some parenting wins under my belt. Here is my top 5 list of minor triumphs that are major to me:
1. Listening to the “Oldies”
I am a big devotee of all music from the 80s and 90s. My kids have long made fun of this and ask if I really mean the 1880s or 1790s. This summer on a few longer drives I have managed to slip past some Journey, Bon Jovi and one hit wonders from various artists. The other day I was in the car with my son and a cover version of the Toto song, Africa, came on and all of a sudden he was singing along. Even if they only know these songs from kids movies or America’s Got Talent, I am thrilled that we can expand the song repertoire in the car to include a few of the “classics.”
2. The Dishwasher
I don’t know why, but unloading a dishwasher is one of those household tasks that I cannot stand. Loading the dishwasher is not an issue, but I just hate putting everything away. This summer my 9-year-old decided it is his job. Yes, he has to sit on the counter to put dishes away and my silverware drawer is a hot mess, but he is proud of himself and I have one less odious task to accomplish.
3. Selective Sarcasm
I have always had a penchant for sarcasm. My dad passed on the gene to me and I often think of the Kathy Griffin quote, “I was raised right – I talk about people behind their backs. It’s called manners.” Lately, my kids have come up with a few comments that made me realize we were on a similar wavelength. When my daughter requests “slow claps” for a really bad driver in front of us or when my son sees a large political billboard and states that he would never vote for someone who needs to see his face on a sign that big, I know that they are DEFINITELY my children!
4. Kale Chips
I make them. They eat them. Enough said.
5. Crazy Stupid Movies
I have a love of sophomoric humor. Give me a film with Will Ferrell, a Mel Brooks movie, Monty Python, or the Hangover and I am all set. Earlier this summer I decided to test the waters with my teenager and I introduced her to Adam Sandler’s movies. She loved them and we are often quoting them to each other. I realize this is not Shakespeare, but I look forward to sharing more of these movies with her.
There are days, weeks or even months when, as parents, we may feel like our kids are not accomplishing big things. However, it is important to remember these small parenting wins. They’ll get you through a tough day and remind you that you are doing a good job.