Vallette Family

Vallette Family

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Moving!

I'm moving over here, join me at my new home and make sure you subscribe there if you want to be notified of new posts!

When Dads DO Parenting

It took me a while to trust Marvin to be a dad. I know that sounds kind of crappy. It sounds like Marvin needed my babysitting or hand holding when it comes to our kids. I don't mean it like that. I don't mean I didn't trust him to handle things properly. I mean that it took me a long time to trust that Marvin could be a dad (a REAL dad) and still love me. That he would still love us and want to come home after work. That he could see the hard, do the hard, LIVE in the hard and still choose us.

I had good intentions. I knew how hard parenting was. Real parenting. It was exhausting and messy and constant and I wanted to save him from that. I had to save him because surely he could only love us if life was easy and we didn't ask much of him. He couldn't love us through the ugly. And parenting IS ugly. We're not talking drive-by parenting here (where the dad comes home and gets to kiss freshly washed children and throw them around a bit and then send them off to bed and call it a day). Real parenting. Parenting in which the kids are fighting and no one wants to eat what I've cooked for dinner and there's wet, dirty clothes every where and mom is heading out the door because (as I was shocked to learn) moms ARE allowed to leave sometimes-- even GOOD moms! In real parenting Dad is there to step in. Really step in. He can do homework and bath time and the feeding and the rocking and the breaking up of fights. He can do it all. Because, you know what? They're his kids too.





REAL parenting was only for me. I could handle real parenting. I could do the hard and still love my family. 


My thought process had little to do with Marvin and everything to do with my insecurities. We all have issues from our past that we carry into our current relationships and friendships. My insecurity was waiting. I was always waiting. Waiting to meet the real Marvin. Waiting to see a glimpse of the Marvin who had a secret life or cheats or hates his family or or or. That's the way my brain works. There's no way a human being that good and that kind and that CUTE could really love me. All of me. The bad me. The moody me. I wasn't worthy of that kind of love. Eventually the other shoe would drop and I'd be all alone and it would be all my fault because I'm too much and "can you really blame the poor guy"?





So, I hid. I didn't hide the crazy me or the moody me. That would be way too hard to do. I'm too impulsive to hide those parts of myself. I hid parenting away. It was all mine. He wasn't invited to parenting. He couldn't handle it AND love me AND stay. It was solely my job. 


Having parenting all for myself served me well. You see, if I was the only one doing REAL parenting then I was the only one who could have REAL parenting tantrums. Real parenting tantrums are the tantrums where you lock yourself in your room or bathroom or wherever after a long and dramatic monologue entitled "How Much I Do and How Little I am Appreciated". It was a self esteem boost. "Look at how much I do! Look at how much I juggle. See! I AM a good mom! Now give me a break. I deserve it." And, maaaan, I needed that self esteem boost because I always seemed to be one mistake away from ruining my children. One mistake away from being a "bad mom".





I noticed that the dads that did real parenting were worshiped. For moms, real parenting is expected. It's our responsibility. No one freaks out when a mother brings her kids to the grocery store. That's part of her job. It's not even a fancy part of her job. It's the bare minimum. No one even gives it a second thought. That's a Tuesday. Now, if your kids are perfect robots and you're dressed in real people clothes and you have make up on and smiling children with manners in your midst you may get a smile or two from fellow shoppers but that's where it usually ends for moms. However, if a dad brings a child to the store or even (gasp) more than one child people lose their ever loving minds. I wasn't going to allow people to fan over him. I was doing the hard. I was the one that needed all the credit. I needed everyone to think I did it all and, more importantly, that I did it all well


If Marvin did real parenting then I would be vulnerable to judgment. Judgment I wasn't ready for or strong enough or secure enough to handle. You see, him DOING takes away from me. When he's seen being a father, when he's seen doing, people are quick to wonder why I'm not doing. Surely the mothers-in-law of the world would make comments about how their husbands never helped in that way. Those women did it all. Without a problem. Their baseboards were always clean and their kids' clothes were always ironed--with pleats nonetheless and they had no one to thank but themselves, thankyaverymuch! They would always make sure to say how lucky I was. Always the word "lucky". If they said the word "lucky" their comment was disguised as a compliment--it no longer sounded like a dis.


I loved being able to have the "your husband does WHAT?" conversation with my friends or (sadly) even with strangers. "My husband can't even make toast, yours cooks?" This is a conversation where we compare and contrast what our husband does (or, really, doesn't do) against the other husbands in the world so we can feel better about how we're doing more than most. It's a stab at the men in our lives, but it's not even really about them. It's about us. We use them so that we can feel better about ourselves. About how much we do. Why? Because doing more means caring more. And caring more means being a good mom. And at the end of the day we all just want to be good moms

Allowing Marvin to be a dad would mean a hit to my pride and letting go of the need to always be right. You see, when you're the only one doing parenting you have the final say. You decide what's good and what's bad for your kids. You lead the way. It's easy to do parenting with only your opinion to consider. 

Kids tend to learn real quick which one of you is doing parenting. There's trust there-trust that's been built. It's an unspoken rule: "The real parent can answer these questions and can help me with whatever I might need. The real parent knows the rules. The real parent is the boss--even of the other parent." 




Once I invited Marvin into real parenting my love for him grew. The kids' affection for him and trust in him grew and I'm fairly certain his love for us grew. Marvin is now invited into decision making. What should we do with Dane's speech issue? Should I bring Juliet to the doctor for this rash? Should Elaina play basketball in Lake Charles or Sulphur? These are real questions I ask now. Before they were conversation fillers. They were questions I asked out loud to him, but only so I could weigh the pros and cons of my own thoughts against one another.

I learned so many things after Marvin joined real parenting. I learned he shouldn't have had to be invited by me afterall. He had a right. And I was taking his right from him. I was unfairly putting myself in a position of power. I was also cheating my kids out of another perspective--out of a real relationship with their dad. "Man, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for its own sake, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self." (Mulieris Dignitatem) I was keeping him from making a sincere gift of self to our children and thereby keeping him from growth, from knowing himself. Parenting is a partnership. Two brains are better than one. (Even when I'm one of the brains involved.) Surprisingly, my ideas are not always the best ideas. There's more than one way to do things. My way is not always the right way. These realizations were groundbreaking in our home. Groundbreaking and necessary and long overdue. I was definitely thrown off my high horse.




It turned out, I wasn't doing anyone any favors. Not Marvin and not myself and certainly not the kids. I was cheating Marvin out of parenting. Cheating him. I wasn't saving him at all. I was robbing him, robbing everyone out of real, hard, pure love. Love is hard. It isn't always easy, in fact, it's rarely ever easy in the ways that count. Things worth doing are often hard. I'm lucky (see, I use that word too!) that I'm married to a man so willing to jump completely into parenting. I needed to stop holding him back. I needed to move myself out of the way to allow Marvin to really get to know the kids and to allow the kids to really trust Marvin. 




To experience real love, to really love someone, you have to allow yourself to be loved. That was a tough lesson that I'm still working on learning. I don't have it all figured out. Not even close. I am a work in progress.




Now and then I'm still guilty of downplaying what Marvin does and up-selling what I do. I still find myself comparing him to other dads and husbands. I still let the wrong comment slip from time to time. My mouth always works faster than my brain and my tact. 

I've realized people (at least during my lifetime) will probably always praise men as fathers and husbands for doing just a little bit more than the bare minimum. It's not an attack against me or my motherhood. It's just genuine surprise. Not every guy is the same and some women (even after inviting and inviting and begging and re-inviting) are met with partners who do not wish to take part in real parenting. When these women use the word "lucky" they genuinely mean lucky. They're serving as a reminder (maybe a Divine reminder?) to be grateful for what we have. A little appreciation goes a long way--we've learned that through experience, haven't we?

We should not be comparing our husbands. We just shouldn't. We have to stop doing this--let's agree right now. Can you imagine if guys got together and in front of our FACES dissed us (like we tend to do)? Or compared what we do with what another mother or wife does? (God forbid that mother be HIS mother. Those are fighting words!) If it's not ok and if it's not nice for them then it shouldn't be ok for us, right?




Like with any change, when you take a long-standing dynamic and decide to tweak it there may be some push back. If you go from handling all-the-things to needing or asking for help there will likely be confusion. Be patient. Ask. They don't always know. I know that's mind boggling for us. "How can they NOT know?" But, it's true. I've learned it may take a while for the anticipation of the need to come into play with dads, but it'll come and it'll come faster when he's built up rather than torn down. When they jump in and help and anticipate your needs or the needs of the family DON'T criticize the way they're helping. Bite your tongue. Write it down and then throw it away. Set a timer and don't talk until the timer dings. Do whatever you need to do, but keep your pie hole shut. Walking on egg shells is not a good way for him to learn initiative. He will figure out his way (not YOUR way, HIS way). Just like you had to figure it out. It takes time and patience. Be patient.

Change is hard. Relinquishing control is hard. Opening yourself to criticism is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. But, things worth doing are sometimes (often?) hard. Your children deserve two parents doing parenting. Don't let your insecurities, expectations, fears or need for perfection rob them of that. It's not your place.

Yes, "This is Us". Yes!

Have you seen "This Is Us"? Girl, you need to! It's good--really good. 

I saw a commercial for the show a while back. In the teaser Mandy Moore is pregnant. She looks real pregnant (and not Hollywood pregnant). She looks like she's hot (like, sweating) and she can't fit into her cute lingerie. (Lingerie she probably got at her wedding shower and has never put on a day in her life because she's tired, but she keeps it in case one day she morphs into a lingerie wearing lady.) Real life alert! All of that sold my "A Walk to Remember" little heart. I happened to be sleeping at a friend's house that night (which sounds very middle school, but I'll explain this in a later post at some point) when it came on. I was lucky to be at this friend's house because we got rid of cable to help Dane (again, later post) and I haven't been watching much TV these days.



The dude who plays Mandy Moore's husband is really handsome and he has a beard and there's a woman who is very overweight and there's a black family, so, naturally I was already a fan. I was surprised how (relatively) wholesome the show was, too. There's a bit of a hint of promiscuity at the very beginning, but nothing overly yuck. There's a mention of past drug abuse, but you can see the negative effect that's had on the character's life. All seemed pretty good.


There's no weird sci-fi secret effect. No one is a person from another planet, and yet it's enough. It's about life. And we all know that life is definitely enough to make good tv! This is different than those separate (yet intertwining) movies we've seen too much of (think: "Valentine's Day"). This is real.

I'm tempted to go into more detail, but I'm hoping that if you're reading this and you haven't seen it you will, and then we can come back later and be all "oh my goodness!" together! 

Definitely don't poke around on the internet too much before you watch it because there's one thing in the first episode that you don't want to ruin for yourself.

We're only 2 episodes deep which means you cannot binge watch this all day (which for me is a good thing). It's good, y'all! Did I mention that already? Just watch the first episode and if you hate it you can tell me how wrong I was, but you so won't hate it.

If you loved Parenthood this is a show for you, and if you never saw Parenthood...this is still a show for you.

You can catch up on Hulu or NBC's website. "This is Us" airs on NBC on Tuesdays 9/8 central!

We'll talk specifics later!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Love is an Action

"Stop talking about love. Every (idiot) in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. It still doesn't mean anything. What you feel only matters to you. It's what you do to the people you say you love, that's what matters. It's the only thing that counts." -The Last Kiss

I remember watching that movie and hearing that quote. It hit me like a lightning bolt. I heard it at a time where I still had alot to learn about love. I heard it and it made me IMMEDIATELY think of the people in my life who said they loved me, but didn't live that love out. The people who thought love was a feeling. I spent exactly zero minutes thinking about how I was guilty of that.

That's what I want you to do with this article. We all know other people who have flaws, who make mistake after mistake. I bet we all know someone who could be better about living love out--not just professing it. But, just for today, just while reading this article, I want you to turn it inward. I want you to look at how YOU could improve. Look at how YOU can live love out.

Marvin and I have been married for a short 4 years. We're still in the butterflies stage. I still love him in feeling. He is still my favorite person. I still enjoy spending time with him. I love kissing him. I love being around him. I always like him. I think he's cute and funny and great and I can't get enough. People say that it won't always be that way. I have to take their word for it because they are wiser than I am. I hope they're wrong, but I'm preparing as if they're right.

One of my biggest fears is that when all the sparkle and confetti fades, when I stop LIKING Marvin so dang much I'll be too weak to LOVE him in action. I pray for that now. We pray for that together--that we'll be strong enough to work together when it's the last thing we want to do. 

Children help you exercise your love muscle because they're easy to love some of the time. They're cute and cuddly and they look just like your spouse and they have all the cute quirks that you enjoy and they're funny. They love you and want to hug you. Some of the time it's difficult. Some of the time they don't listen no matter what you do. Some of the time you just want 30 minutes to yourself and they just want more and more and more of you. I can't imagine how hard it must be to LOVE in action a bratty teenage girl who thinks you're just about the dumbest human being alive because she's 14 and she knows it ALL, duh, just like we all knew it ALL at 14. 

Love is not wanting to color, but doing it anyway. Love is being exhausted and wanting to stay home alone, but inviting someone who feels isolated over anyway. Love is wanting to give someone a piece of your mind, telling them how wrong they are, but being kind instead. Love is feeling frustrated inside, but sharing a smile outwardly. Love is accepting people for who they are and where they are, even though you wish it could be different. 

Love isn't a feeling, guys. Maybe there's a time when love and feelings coexist (like right now between Marvin and I), but that's not what love is. Love is DOING. Love is GIVING. Love is ACTION-- when the last thing you want to do is act.

St. Clare of Assisi said: "Love that cannot suffer is not worthy of that name."

I leave you with the following most famous scripture passage, but I ask you to look at it with different eyes. Look at it like it's the first time you're seeing it, and ask yourself: are you love? is the way you're treating others love? do your actions say love?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jumping Through Hoops to Find God

I spent alot of time during and after my conversion jumping through hoops to be close to God. I read Christian books, recited rosaries, made weekly confessions, attended daily morning mass, etc. and it was so fruitful. So, so fruitful. It was a period of time where I really fell in love with God.

If you truly seek God, He will reveal Himself to you. God had revealed himself to me and it was awesome. I was in love. It was where the foundation for my faith was laid, but it wasn't sustainable. There were diapers to change and babies to rock. The time for ALL GOD ALL THE TIME ran out--life was waiting.

Time passed and those same things that brought me peace and made me feel so very close to God lacked the vibration that once accompanied them. I was bored. I didn't feel close to God. I was going through the motions. I kept pushing myself anyway. A rosary a day! No matter what! Rosary! I told myself it was the sinful part of me that was relying so much on feeling. Keep praying those rosaries. Keep on. Ignore feelings! Feelings are human and sinful. 

And then I just couldn't any more.

I had to stop. And I had guilt when I stopped. And then (eventually) I learned something: like all good relationships, our relationship with Him changes. 

I don't go to daily mass anymore. Dane wouldn't allow that. I don't pray a rosary every day because you know what I learned? My relationship with Him doesn't depend on me! I was giving myself so much power and not trusting in Him at all. He loves me without the rosaries. He's with me without them. My relationship doesn't look the same today as it did a year ago, and I hope it won't look the same a year from now. 

These days I do a bible reading and prayer every morning. I use a prayer journal to pray because I'm a writer and it helps to keep my mind from wandering, and my husband and I do couple prayer at night. We do family prayer and I make a habit to pray a Hail Mary when I have a judgmental thought (think:Wal Mart). I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me when I'm in a situation where I might be tempted to gossip (which is a problem for me). I ask for help when I feel myself losing my patience with the kids. 

So, here's the difference, where before I made an effort to have ALL GOD ALL THE TIME, now I make an effort to live my life and leave an open door for Him. I try to make my life a prayer. Sometimes it's a sloppy one or a quick one or a chaotic one, but He doesn't mind. I ask for His help in the mundane. "Help me not to yell at Dane for being an insane person."

I remind myself that I don't have to jump through hoops to find Him. He's with me-- all day, everyday. Waiting for me. He's with me in the laundry. He's with me when I pass someone walking on the road who needs helps. He's with me when the opportunity to bad mouth someone comes up. He's with me. He's meeting me day in and day out and I don't have to jump to find Him. My life is a prayer and so is yours. Remember that. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Miscellaneous Updates

Motherhood as a vocation:

I'm a really slow learner. I'll struggle with something on and off for a few months (or years) before I realize that God has been banging me over the head with the answer. Sometimes I'll even learn a lesson and then forget it and then have to re-learn it...over and over. (This may explain why each of my posts sounds the exact same to you.)

I just realized that motherhood is a vocation. Wow. How many articles have I read expressing this exact sentiment? How many times have I heard other people say it, and it's just NOW sinking in. 

I've stopped fighting motherhood. I've stopped trying to make my life look exactly like a kidless life that just happens to have kids sprinkled in it. I've given in. Motherhood is messy and chaotic and loud (especially with a Dane in your midst) and my house is no exception.

I'm so much HAPPIER now that I've accepted that--now that I've found my place and my purpose, now that I've stopped fighting it. I've realized that my life isn't going to be easy in this season. I'm not going to get all this time to take afternoon naps or sleep in or stay home and watch grown up TV because my oldest has school that she needs a ride to and my 2 year old wants to watch George. There's something amazing that happens when you wave the white flag--when you stop fighting the hard and slap a smile on your face and embrace it. It's amazing when you resolve to be positive despite the hard--what happens within your family when you smile through the tantrum. Leading by example, y'all!

I don't have much to add to this. I'm not re-inventing the wheel here! This is an idea people had way before Diana. I'm sharing this so that (maybe) you'll be smarter than me and get it right off the bat. Maybe you'll read this and it'll all make sense, but, in all reality, you'll probably have to FEEL it before you get it. Being a mom is annoying that way, people can give you advice and tell you things they've realized until they're blue in the face, but you don't reeeeeally get it until you go through it. 

Domestic Church:

Marvin and I met with our Domestic Church circle for the first time last week, and we've started praying together every night--which for us (specifically me) is a HUGE deal. 

I prayed alone. He prayed alone. We prayed together with our children. We didn't pray together as a couple. This is mostly because the idea gave me hives. There's nothing that I'm embarrassed or shy about when it comes to Marvin. He and I can literally have a face-to-face conversation while either of us *ahem* uses the bathroom, (and we all know Dr. Brown has had to ask Marvin to move his head out of the way a few times) but praying together was SCARY. It's been so awesome, y'all. Someone recently described couple prayer to me as "listening in while your spouse talks to God"--it's so awesome to hear that the things your spouse worries about are the same things you worry about. You don't know intimacy until you've done couple prayer. I'm excited to see how this impacts our marriage and our family.

Humble Pie:

I accidentally took on too many things this school year. I am teaching 3rd grade PREP and Spanish at Elaina's school again this year. Elaina is in soccer and ballet (which comes with normal valet mom responsibilities) and I accidentally got a job at the Quad and am facilitating a mom group there every Thursday--on top of all of that I have a 3 month old that relies on me for food and a 2 year old that doesn't do well with changes in routine and an almost 5 year old that gets really cranky if she doesn't get an adequate amount of attention (which for her is ALOT). It was too much. I was overwhelmed and frazzled and not doing great at my main job (mom), and then I accidentally volunteered to be team mom for Elaina's soccer team. I spent a few weeks ignoring emails from the coach about what I needed to do (an online background check and get with the parents to develop a snack schedule and and and) before I finally took a big bite of humble pie and emailed him back letting him know "oops sorry, I lied, I can't be team mom because I'm overloaded with responsibilities and not doing a great job at juggling at the moment". Marvin joked "great, now our kid won't get any playing time". It was hard to say "hey, I can't do that, because I can't do it all". Humbling. So humbling--especially for this mom whose pride is a lion that fights being tamed daily--hourly, even!

I'm sure the coach thought I was crazy... "I'm asking her to be team mom not president of the United States", but for me, for my family it was one more thing that I couldn't afford to take on and so I had to chance that the coach would forever hate me, chance that Marvin would see me as someone who can't handle it ALL, chance that I'd have to sit by as some other BETTER mom passed out orange slices. And that's where I am now. Wishing I could do it ALL, but realizing that I have a full (for me) plate and that it's not fair (to me or the people who live with me) that I add even one more thing (no matter how small) to my already full plate. 

I'm sure there will be a time in my life when I look back at this post and wonder how I got so easily overwhelmed, laugh at the woman who thought she was busy THEN, but that's how life is. God is merciful that way. He lets you struggle through juggling two things and master it before he shows you that you could REALLY juggle about 10. 

A mom friend recently messaged me asking for any advice I had to give. She has a 3 year old and newborn and she felt overwhelmed and like she was failing. I had no advice. I remember being there. I remember struggling to breathe. I remember wondering why I had thrown a kink in something that was moving along so wonderfully. Two kids made me wonder how anyone ever had more than 2, and here I am with 3 kids trucking along. In my world, 3 kids is easier than 2 which is just a little crazy since the math doesn't add up, but it's true for me. 

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble. I just wanted to catch everyone up. Now that school's started I hope you're learning to juggle the things you can and saying no to the things you shouldn't take on and keeping your eye out for the women in your life who could use encouragement.

Talk soon.

-Diana



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why I Don't Talk About Breastfeeding Anymore

I was scared to write this post, so I figured it meant I needed to. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I stopped sharing articles about breastfeeding and being a stay at home mom (SAHM). 

I still think breastfeeding is wonderful and I still get teary eyed when I think about the fact that I had to quit a job I LOVED because my family needed me to. So, what changed? I realized I was creating controversy when I should've been creating comradery. Sometimes my intention was pure and kind, and some of the time I wanted to shout from the roof top (and my rooftop is Facebook) that I am a mom doing things "the right way" snark snark snark. If I'm doing things the right way, then that must mean that someone out there is doing things the wrong way--if breast is best, then formula must be NOT best. 

I don't think there's any one out there in the big, bad world of social media and internet that is confused about the benefits of breastmilk, if there is, you must've been under a rock all this time. We all know, guys. We all know that #breastisbest. We don't need to be reminded. We don't need a "Breastfeeding Awareness Week". We don't need a hashtag. (I can feel all of the breastfeeding moms painting me a traitor and kicking me out of the groups and hating me, and it's ok.)

Do you wanna know why we don't need to be reminded? Because it hurts people's feelings. Not just a few people, not just the highly sensitive, not just someone I know or someone you know, but a big, fat group of people hate it when you or I post 30 articles back to back about our style of parenting or what you and I do with our kids and how it's the right way. Because it comes across like you're judging and deeming yourself better than them, and no one wants to feel like someone else is saying they're sucking at this mom thing--we tell ourselves that enough.

There's no Formula Feeding Awareness Week. That would be weird. Shouldn't it be weird that there's one for breastfeeding? Here, where we're lucky enough to always have food available for our baby (whether it's from your breast, from the formula you buy or the formula WIC aids you in purchasing), do we really need to talk so much about HOW and WHAT we feed our kids? If the way we're shoving our lactating boobs in other people's faces is making them feel put down or judged or guilty, is it necessary? Well, maybe it's necessary for you, and that's ok--no really, it is--, but it's not necessary for me anymore.

I must be a slow learner because I accidentally hosted a lot of debates between the breastfeeders and the formula feeders and between the SAHMs and the working moms before I got a clue. The groups that I'm not a part of told me OVER and OVER that they felt picked on, and rather than listen I told them they were wrong. "No, you're not offended, you're just sensitive. I'm just talking about me--you're making it about you." 

They were right. I was SO making it about them. I wasn't sharing the article about the benefits of breastfeeding so that I would know them or so that other breastfeeders would know them. I was sharing the article (at least on some level) so the formula feeders would read it and come over to the RIGHT way of feeding a child. "Oh, the mom passes immunity to some diseases through her milk? Well, let me throw away this canister and start breastfeeding STAT." Or so they would know how much better what I was doing was than the "easy" route they were taking.

If someone in a group you're not in tells you that something you do is unkind or offensive you aren't allowed to disagree with them. You can choose to do it any way, sure, but you can't discount their feelings, you don't know, you're not allowed a vote.

So, you won't see me share any memes or articles about one particular style of parenting or feeding anymore because now I think about how it might make others feel. They told me over and over and over that it was hurtful and I ignored them. I hope no one ignores me when I tell them that something they do OVER and OVER is hurtful.

We're ALL just parents trying our very best, hoping and praying that it's enough. We don't need to be inundated with what we're doing that's not QUITE best. We already know. Everyone knows.