Parenting Tourist

A few weeks ago we went to Washington DC, where we saw the space shuttle. Fly over! On the back of an airplane! It was amazing. Some domestic observations, though, are what I’m still chewing on all this time later.

We stayed with old friends. The kind of old friends who will let you stay with them for an entire week, and not even let you see how annoying it must be at times. They have two boys who bookend ours, one a bit older and one a bit younger. The thing that was hard to miss right off the bat is that we sure do parent our kids differently. Let’s stick to the moms, shall we? Both because I try to only speak for myself and because you don’t hear a lot about Dad Competition and Dad Wars and whatever. All I probably need to sum it all up is to say that I am more permissive and less organized than my friend and fellow mom. And this is where we fight, right? And there’s weirdness and tension? I mean, she gave my two-year-old a time out the first day we were there! And then later I gave her six-year-old a lecture on good sportsmanship! Except, you know, it was totally fine. It was more than totally fine. It was a real gift to me to get the watch a mom I admire up close for an extended period of time.

I don’t know why there wasn’t any tension. I fretted about it a little bit at first. What if they found my guys annoying? What if they rolled their eyes at what may have looked like coddling to them? And maybe they did. But what they didn’t do was communicate any of that, and that’s all I could ever ask for. Whatever is going on entirely in the privacy of a person’s thoughts is none of my beeswax.

What was going on in my head was an endless series of curious observations. Might a little illustrated chart make our preschool mornings more manageable? Hey, look how refusing to tolerate arguing cuts down on arguing! Most beautiful, make your kids eat OUTSIDE while you eat INSIDE. So genius.

It was like a mini cultural exchange. Nothing as abrupt or challenging as, say, Greenland to Swaziland. More like Germany to Switzerland. Not so different to be painful, but enough new stuff to make it worth the trip.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Pamela Janel Boggess on June 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    If only more parents were willing to learn from each other there may be more children behaving. Not unlike any other task, parenting is a learning experience. Embrace differences and one might just learn a thing or two. I love helpful tips from other parents. Anything to make my life easier. 😉


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