I have become one of those people that I used to hate. The smug parent. I don't mean to be smug. I am deliriously happy, only in my body it comes off more as labored breathing and lazy smugness.
My kids have reached a stage where their behavior is so good for the most part, that I can almost feel my sanity trying to creep back in.
After years of sleepless nights, refereeing brawls and serving as a one-woman Hazmat unit, I am starting to see the light.
I have well-behaved, polite and sweet kids. (Right now, I got very sweaty and twitchy writing that, in case I am somehow calling a curse down upon my head.)
The best part is, they can pour their own drinks, microwave food, put their own shoes on, etc. My oldest can even cook on the stove (with supervision). They use manners, they care about animals and other people. They like to be helpful. They take pride in their accomplishments.
I just really enjoy all of them right now. There is an occasional sassy comment or my youngest still can get overtired and have a good cry, but our daily life is 1000% better than what it was just a couple years ago.
Of course, I loved and enjoyed them when they were little, but sometimes, when you are in the trenches of single parenthood, you don't get to shower daily, much less realize your kids' greatness.
Maybe I feel somewhat vindicated, too. Since they could toddle, well meaning people often questioned my lack of strict discipline. I rarely spanked them. I can pretty much recount every spanking and nearly every single time was because they were endangering themselves or others.
But, when they were terrible 2 and 3, people felt I should 'beat their asses' more. Ummm...no...sorry. Then, when they were smart mouthed or wild over the years, people again had the nerve to question how I raised my kids. With love, with time-outs, loss of privileges, and lots of hugs. I couldn't be the crazy belt-wielding parent. I just couldn't. And if I had a dime for each time someone said "If you don't get a handle on it now, they are going to run all over you when they get older", my well-behaved kids and I could go to Disney World.
I know that quite a bit of how people turn out is their own personality and psyche. I have seen good parents end up with total nut-cases for offspring. But, I have also seen some parents that have damaged perfectly good kids with their 'discipline' and emotional abuse.
I made plenty of mistakes and have said things I wish I could take back, but for the most part, I must have done something good.
So, here is to my 3 Musketeers! Thanks for making life interesting and for being the kind of kids any Mom would be proud to have. I love you boogers!