Is it so wrong to set parenting goals that are attainable? I'm all about goals. At any given moment in my house there is a goal written down somewhere guiding one member to something. Financial goals, fitness goals, eating goals, swearing goals. Let's not forget, even Kit, when looking for a new roommate gave the sound advice, "You gotta have a goal. Do you have a goal? Cuz you can't turn tricks forever."
But I like to be real with my goals. I don't start the year off looking to cut all sugar from my diet because I know that goal would die somewhere around January 3rd. I don't go into the Lenten season with the goal of giving up all chocolate until Easter because I know the taste of those mini hard-shelled Cadbury eggs and that is powerful enough to stray me from any non-chocolate path.
Realistic goals. That's my standard.
When my kids were toddlers I just wanted them to not be the kid that bit the other kids. Like, don't be the biter. Don't be the kid that leaves teeth marks on someone else's arm and more importantly, gives someone else's germ-covered skin cells a ride on your teeth.
Grade school became a war of who-read-the-most-books between a ton of parents. Me? Not playing. My offspring and I will sit this one out. We'll just be over here working on a little game I like to call "Bradford's a jackass."
Yeah, its where you sit your kid down and explain to them that sometimes other people have more money or bigger houses or their parents drive nicer cars but that doesn't mean anyone should ever act ...well, mean. And when someone acts mean just because Mommy drives an Escalade, we know that person's a jackass and try not to act like that. Ever. Because someday Bradford will only be able to get a job working for his dad because no one else will want to hire his spoiled butt and even his dad won't really like him all that much.
Moving on to the teen years and the lofty goal of DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS, GET A GIRL PREGNANT!
(This one shouldn't need much explaining. If it requires explaining, I'd like you to go back to your own mother and ask her a question about birds ...and bees and this time don't let her get by with that stork-brought-you-a-baby-sister nonsense.)
In all due seriousness (although I was joking about zero of the things above,) am I missing a mom chromosome by not having Harvard-graduate type goals of my children? Am I setting the bar too low? Because if I were a fairy godmother and could turn my kids into anything as adults - it wouldn't be neurosurgeons with three penthouses that all include a guest bedroom for good ol' mom - it would be that they're happy, healthy, decent, hard working, moderately likable human beings. In my perfect world they're people who hold the doors open for the person who gets to the entrance at the same time as them. They vote with intelligence. They don't get in bar fights unless its to kick the crap out of the guy who grabbed the girls' tushie when she had already called him a perv and told him to knock it off. They tip their waitresses decently. They text their mom funny crap at random because she is, after all, the reason they are air breathing human beings. And they work hard and to the best of their ability at whatever it is they are doing.
If my kids grow up and grant all these wishes of mine, I promise you I will not give one wit if the neighbor's kid graduated Summa cum laude from an Ivy League school. I will not care if someone else's child is married and has produced three stunningly gorgeous grandchildren. And I certainly will not give one fleeting thought to anyone who ever said I "set the bar too low" when it came to raising my boys.
In fact if they can hit all my wishes, it'll be like graduating with highest honors from my household.