The WOM Manifesto

Competitive parenting is a stupid sport because no one wins, not even (especially!) our kids.
You can’t make your kids happy, nor can you protect them from pain. They are humans. They are supposed to experience joy, sorrow, jealousy, awe, pleasure, anger, love, frustration, hope and fear. Don’t deny them the full human experience. Instead, teach them the tools to survive the whole beautiful mess.
There is no right answer. Those folks who tell you that you have to parent a certain way? They have never been you, parenting your unique child at this particular moment in time. So ignore their made-up rules and…
Trust yourself. Children are complicated little beasts and figuring out what’s right for them (and you) is often really, really difficult. But you know what’s right for your family. Listen to that voice whispering underneath all the noise.
Less is sometimes more. Often, the most supportive thing we can do is to give our kids the space to find their own path, even if it kills us to stand back and watch the inevitable train wreck while they learn.
Parenting is a long, occasionally lonely, game. Your goal is to launch functional adults into the world, not to gain approval from your neighbor, the other parents on the soccer field or your mother-in-law. Surround yourself with people who get that your kids — and you! — are learning as you go.
You can only work with the clay you’re given. Children come pre-wired in certain ways. If you try to make a banana out of a plum, your beautiful plum will spend her whole life feeling like a terribly inadequate banana. (And lots of people like plums! Power to the Plums!)
Being a parent is hard. Some days, you can’t be bothered and maybe you hate your kids just a little bit. Admitting this – to yourself or others – doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong; it means you’re honest.
Guilt and regret are wastes of time. Make the best decision you can with the information you have and then move on. If it turns out to be a bad choice, your kids will have something to talk about later in therapy.
There’s enough judgment in the world already. Don’t add to it.

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