Yesterday, I volunteered some of my time to organize items at the children’s Consignment Sale taking place where I work. The first order of business was to organize the table housing all of the games and puzzles.
As I stacked the games, I was struck by one in particular that I thought my kids would think was hilarious. The name of the game? Poopyhead. The tag line? The game where No 2 always wins.
Yep. That’s our kind of humor. Any word that has to do with a bodily function will have someone in our house rolling on the floor in no time.
For a while, my husband and I tried to fight it, but honestly we both have juvenile senses of humor – so fighting it was futile. When I read this back to him, he actually said he never tried to fight it. He was all in. So there you go.
This game was perfect for us. Too bad the sale hadn’t started yet, or else I may have bought it right then and there.
Fast forward an hour or two. I was on to a different table that needed sorted and organizing. While I was knee-deep in toddler toys and infant lovies, I heard a fellow volunteer begin to comment on the inappropriate games. She recognized some adult games that needed pulled and one child’s game that was questionable at best.
You guessed it.
Poopyhead. The game where No 2 always wins.
As I sorted and listened, I thought about the differences in parenting and the many gray areas that exist. What may be incredibly offensive to one household, can be perfectly acceptable to another. There are a lot of factors that play into this, like the age of your children. A household with older children may be more lax about certain things (like games with poo) than a household with very young children.
Years ago, I would have kept my head down and my mouth shut in a situation like this, but as I have matured and become more confident in who I am as a parent – I no longer feel the need to impress others. And for this reason, I decided to open my mouth and speak. I was not confrontational at all. I simply said how much my children would love the game and even commented on another game we own that they think is a complete riot – Don’t Step In It. I went on to explain how in that game you make your own poo and then try to – yep – not step in it.
Neither of us were right and neither of us were wrong. We just had different opinions.
And this is how it is with so much of parenting. Of life, really.
Breastfed vs. bottle-fed. Stay-at-home vs. working parent. Organic vs. non-organic. Homeschool vs. public school. Letting your kids use electronics when out to eat vs. not in a million years. Co-sleeping vs. everyone in their own rooms for the night. Thinking games with poop in them are hilarious vs. that is disgusting and will never be in our home.
The list goes on and on.
The amount of gray is remarkable – and at times overwhelming. When I was a new parent with very young children, I constantly mulled over our parenting choices. While I still have to think a lot about what we are doing and the choices we are making (especially now that we are moving into the teenage years and are dealing with more emotions and serious conversations) – I have allowed myself the freedom to make mistakes. In fact, I know it is inevitable. If we are going down a path and realize it isn’t working, we course correct. And what works for one child, may not necessarily work for another. We are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our choices as parents. Because gray. So much gray.
There is no manual. No instruction book. Oftentimes, there is not one right way. But instead, many possibilities.
Part of the reason for voicing my support of the game was because of the other mothers in the room – most with children younger than mine. I thought about myself when I was that age with children that young. I could imagine my internal dialogue shaming myself for sometimes allowing potty-talk in our home. I could imagine taking those words to heart and possibly internalizing it as me being a bad mom. Just in case there was someone else listening who lives in a house where this kind of sense of humor runs rampant – I wanted them to know they weren’t alone.
We are all trying our best at a job that is incredibly rewarding and also incredibly challenging. At a job with no clear description. At a job where the minute you think you have it mastered – that’s the minute something is bound to change.
We all mess up. We all have our convictions about what is right and what is wrong.
So whether you are a family who would love the game Poopyhead, or one who cringes at the thought of a game like that entering your home – keep doing you. It isn’t our place to judge and if someone is judging you – that’s on them. Don’t worry about what other people think. The only one you need to please is God.
I pray that He will guide me and my spouse as we make choices for our family – and for Him to nudge us in the right direction when we are veering off track. I pray that for you and your family as well.
There is an awful lot of gray space in this world that we are all trying our best to navigate through each and every day. So let’s give each other grace. Let’s offer words of encouragement. Let’s cheer each other on with high-fives and fist bumps. Let’s refrain from judgment. Because parenting is hard.
And honestly we could all use more high-fives in our day – Don’t you think?