Pick Your Poison

It's been awhile since I've written. It takes me awhile to transition in short life seasons (from school to summer) and I'm realizing weeks have already passed! I got on here thinking I was going to write on one thing (sin), but am in fact all amped up about another thing (parenting). There was an article and then a response article floating around on Facebook today about parenting. One stating that we spoil our children and one saying we're not doing enough (do you hear my black and white mentality screaming yet?) I preferred the second one because I think kids (read: people) could always use more dignity and respect and let's face it; we Americans need some serious help with our emotional tool box, which might stem from how we tend to minimize children's needs and feelings. 
I guess what I want to say in all the fray is that perhaps neither option is right. As a perfectionist, I want to get it right, preferably the first time. But is there really a way to get parenting right? None of us really know what our currently small children will be like in 20 years, so we don't know whether our parenting philosophies will give us the results we're looking for. And even if we did, will our children turn out "well" (however you define that) because of us or in spite of us? This is the tricky thing about subscribing to one parenting philosophy and holding on for dear life. The second article mentions that our instincts tell us to pick up our crying children, so we should. I wholeheartedly concur. Is it overly simplistic to just follow our instincts? I love the exchange of ideas that I get from reading parenting articles and books. I have learned a lot from watching other parents and mentally reviewing the things my parents did with me that I liked as well. It's so helpful when your parents get some things right, since we usually do whatever was done to us. But at the end of the day, isn't parenting, above all, about balance? It's not about who's in control, who's more important, whose needs get met first every time. It's about realizing that children and parents are all people, and therefore, all matter equally. I just might be able to wait a little longer ("might" being the operative word here).
Children present needs often. I have learned skillfully to repress my needs (thank you, ministry baggage). So it would be easy for me to run around ragged trying to just put out the fires of my children's needs, all the while not resting, recharging, or having any fun outside of my relationship with them. I think this strategy can look like resentment and enabling over time. But the drill sargeant, hierarchical approach that I get from the idea that children are inherently selfish and need to fall in line or else really rubs me the wrong way. I think it could also lead to dishonoring and disrespecting the greatest gift I've ever been given, my formative, precious daughters. They're not sub-humans because they don't know how to advocate for themselves. And frankly, they're not sub-human when they throw tantrums either. At least tantrums are honest. How many honest adults do you know who can clearly communicate what they want/need and are willing to ask for it? Can't we love and respect both ourselves and our children? Do any of us need to be on the throne as alpha male? 
I was visiting with a friend today whom I don't get to see very often. I made the choice to arrive late (after notifying her) so that Penny could get a good morning nap. Yes, this was an important need for her to get met, but it also enabled me to stay longer and let her nap in the carrier while we were there, thus my needs for social connection (which I believe are as valid as her biological need for sleep) were met as well. It's not about ignoring or minimizing your children's needs and it's not about staying home when you're an extrovert because your entire life revolves around your little ones. It's a both/and situation. When I anticipate and meet my children's basic needs, I am also able to value and fulfill my own. 
My children don't own me and I don't own them. I get to raise them (God-willing) and I'm so grateful and excited about that. I don't view them as my adversaries or my bosses. They are the cats that I'm herding around in front of me, duh. And someday, when I'm old and delirious, it'll be the other way around.