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04/07/2010

Caregiver or Parenting?

IMG_9175 I’ve come to the realization that caregiving and parenting are not the same. When I became a mommy I knew that I was going to have to teach my children about proper nutrition, how to tie their shoes, and zip up their coats, and I could handle those tasks. As they grow, I realize I am also responsible for teaching my children things such as manners and how to be a good friend. Sometimes I wish I could just change diapers all day and not have to worry about explaining why or why not, or role modeling good behavior with play-by-play instructions. Being a parent and a caregiver is hard work. And, shucks, I already signed up.

Two incidents occurred the other day at the playground that put me to the test: 1.) my daughter told her friend she didn’t like her anymore, and 2.) My son ran into the parking lot. Both needed addressed, but in completely different ways. I wasn’t prepared to hear those despicable words uttered from my daughter’s mouth, and I certainly wasn’t expecting a jolt of shock to run through my body as I sped to rescue my son. When we left the playground I reflected on both things and felt I learned a lot about myself.

I learned that I am a good parent to my daughter in regards to teaching her how to be a good friend. When I heard her tell her friend that she didn’t like her any longer, I immediately pulled her aside. I said to my girl, “You know, a good friend doesn’t say mean words like that to someone they love. A good friend says I love you or I like that you are my friend. Do you want to be a good friend?” She said yes. I said, “well, don’t you think you need to apologize to your friend for saying you didn’t like her? ‘Cuz that’s what a good friend would do.” I smile, hugged her, and told her I loved her. She nodded a yes to me and promptly said “sorry” to her friend and gave her a hug. She did it! I felt accomplished as a parent.

I learned that I am a good caregiver to my son in regards to the fact that I will keep him safe. When I saw him go near the parking lot I was on my feet to help direct him back to the playground before he ran near cars. He is two so I said, “No, no. Cars could give you bad boo boos, stay on the playground.” I helped him find the slide again and felt accomplished as caregiver.

Both incidents were challenging in their own way. They gave me a chance to understand that I wear a caregiving and a parenting hat. My parenting hat allows me to mitigate, negotiate, teach, coach, guide, and model. The caregiving hat allows me to be nurse, cook, policeman, fireman, and superhero. Oh, and there is one more hat that I never take off, and that is my mommy hat. It is all about love and understanding, which can be put to the test any time.

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

Kristin’s alter ego is cBus Mom. Follow her on twitter or read her blogs: cBus Mom or Glass of Whine.

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