Advice text on typewriter

Our Story Begins:
Online Parenting

Just out of curiosity this week I jumped onto the interwebs and did a simple search.

“Parenting” is all I typed into the Google window.

Try it once, just for fun. You’ll be amazed at what comes up on the screen.

My first set of “results”:

“Free Range Parenting: How Much Freedom Should Kids Have?”
“Top 5 Parenting Books”
“Solo Playtime Leads to Free Range Parenting Debate”
“Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in Inspiring Co-Parenting Moment!”
“How to Parent Like a German”
“Mom Who Wants Her Kids to be Gay Sparks Conversation”

That’s just the first few.

I’m not trying to shoot myself in the foot here, I give my fair share of advice, this is a parenting Mecca, after all. I write for Good Enough Mother, though, because I agree – wholeheartedly – with the philosophy: You don’t have to be perfect, just Good Enough.

When I became the only parent in my household I probably should have launched onto the internet, checked out all the websites, tried to find out what I should do and apply the lessons to my daily life.

I guess I was just too stubborn, or perhaps too brain-addled to do that.

What I had, though, was something many people don’t. I had great examples.

I grew up in a loving, caring, full household. We worked. I learned how to work on my car, write, be creative, be practical, and had a routine – much as every teenager hates routine.

Before I headed off to college – years before – my mother ensured I knew how to cook. I may not have been able to walk into the kitchen and cook you Beef Bourguignon, but I could make a decent meal. (And yes…I can cook Beef Bourguignon now) I knew how to bake cookies and in college I made birthday cakes – from scratch – for friends.

Related: Our Story Begins: You CAN Cook At Home!

I have more memories of my parents and brothers caring about each other and talking to each other than I do bad memories. (Okay, I have a lot of memories of my older brother beating the crap out of me but that’s every house with boys in it)

When 2011 hit and I was alone to guide these four children in my household there really wasn’t any thought process. I didn’t turn to the internet or Doctor Spock or think about 15 things I wish I’d known when I became a parent.

I became a parent . . . a different kind of parent. Far different than I had been.

I became softer. We are a home filled with hugs, tickling, running, noise, and laughter. We had all that before . . . we have it in abundance now.

I bake, a lot, now that I want my kids to be healthier. I clean more than I did. I do the wash and manage to not shrink most stuff.

I made mistakes. I should have moved my sons from their school and given them a fresh start, but my intentions were the best – to keep their lives as similar as they had been before, when they had two parents. What I hadn’t counted on was the fact that they seemed less concerned with the number of parents. They just wanted a parent who was involved, which I was . . . more than ever. As a result we cut back on extracurricular activities and increased family activities.

Related: Our Story Begins: Taking Stock of the Moments

I learned the virtue of not following the routine so strictly that we forget the little moments.

I certainly learned and the basis of my parental education was . . . good parents. I had great examples to draw from and I have managed to stumble along as a result. What I hope I have become, as a result, is the kind of role model for my children that I had growing up. Only time will tell if that’s the case.

I’m not saying that Google search didn’t net good information. What I am saying…is don’t just fall for the headlines.

Embrace the good examples.

What about you? Do you spend time looking for advice online or do you spend time looking for those great examples or role models?