Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Ah parenthood! The stuff of stories, songs, legend and one of the funniest movies ever made starring Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen. I see myself and my friends struggle, laugh, cry, become filled alternately wtih joy and concern and ultimatly triumph at this most holy of jobs - being a Mom or Dad. It is truly the most amazing and wonderful aspect of my life. I can't imagine my life without motherhood.

We all do it differently. Our relationships with our kids are unique because we are unique and so are they. Even children raised by the same parents have a different experience than their siblings. They have different memories, perspectives, scars and connections. Birth order, personality and varying parenting styles and circumstances create a unique experience for each member of the family. I have seen one sibling not understand why another holds certain hurts or grudges against a parent- they had a different relationship and needed different levels of nurturing, affection and/or discipline than another did. One size does not fit all.

I have come to realize that being a good parent does not mean that everything has to be "equal or fair." The trick is to do your best to meet the needs of your kids as individuals. Heaven knows I am far from mastering this balance, but I am trying. I do believe that all kids do need love and acceptance for their unique natures. How mamy times have you seen parents trying to put kids in a mold or have a plan for them that mirrors their own dreams or the successes of an older sibling. I have seen other amazing parents who have seemed to master this mystery of parenting idividually.

The parenthood experience gives you a new appreciation for your own mother and father. Whether married, divorced or single, gentle or tough, strong or addicted and troubled- our parents did the best that they could with what they had. As Maya Angelou says "when you know better, you do better." Sure, there are selfish, unskilled and unloving parents out there - check out the awful court trials in the news. Usually these folks are in extreme pain themselves. And not every person should or was meant to parent. But for every troubled parent, there is someone longing to become a mother or a father.

And yes, our parents made mistakes. We are also making them with our children. At some point, you realize that our parents were people too, not superhumans, and that their mistakes or parenting errors were not deliberate attempts to screw us up. They were simply learning how to raise a child and following the models and patterns of their parents and the times in which they lived. That discovery of our own parents' vulnerability helps make out own journey easier. And the knowledge that you can parent your own way, in the style that works for you and your children is liberating. It is the essence of "when you know better, you do better."

All parents out there - pat yourselves on the back and be not afraid!! And remember, some day your kids might be on this miraculous path themselves and ask you for some parenting advice!

Saturday, June 11, 2011