Common Sense Parenting

I am the kind of person to whom other people invariably feel comfortable giving advice. Throughout my life I have frequently been approached by strangers telling me what I am doing wrong. This free torrent of advice has encompassed almost every aspect of my life experiences, from the correct way to put on suntan lotion (I was told to divide all visible skin into a grid), and the most efficient way to organize shoes: sandals, slingbacks, mules, flats, and heels. I am forced to admit that I gave this last piece of unsolicited advice even less attention than I usually do, since I have never actually placed much emphasis on any form of organization.
This advice-giving phenomenon increased dramatically once I had children because anyone can be an expert on childcare. The only qualifications you seem to need are to have had your own children, even if, or maybe especially if, it was so long ago that the children are now grandparents themselves. You are then free to declare yourself an authority. This assumed proficiency is but one reason I have always objected to parenting books. To me, these experts represent just another instance of some stranger approaching me and telling me what I am doing wrong (an occurrence that I have experienced more than any reasoning person would expect). In this book, I am not going to be that stranger telling you what I think you are doing wrong, or right, with your children. Instead I am going to share a little parenting philosophy, stories from a mom to other moms, and dads, who are doing their best to parent their kids, (and not slip on the mashed banana embedded in the kitchen floor at the same time).
I undertook this project despite some very major procrastination issues that I will discuss in more depth later (maybe, if I get to it!). Several years ago (yes, I really am that slow), I was sitting with my family at a restaurant enjoying a celebratory anniversary brunch. We were all sitting around talking, telling jokes, and sharing stories. I mentioned an article I read in the newspaper about parenting and my kids all suggested that I should write a book on this subject. I, of course, responded with, “You have got to be kidding”. Well, no, they weren’t kidding. They were very enthusiastic about the idea and mentioned it several times over the following few weeks. Finally I asked them why they thought I should do this and they told me I was a great parent and had a lot of insight to share with other people. I was so amazingly flattered. My kids thought I was a great parent – me, with all my quirks and neuroses. So, with their support and encouragement I have (finally) produced this book about parenting. I hope it will be thought provoking and helpful. It has certainly provoked some of my own thoughts. And before we start, I just want to say thank you to my children. For everything!

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