Remember a few months ago when you all were so gracious and took a survey to tell me what you’re interested in reading about? Well, overwhelmingly, so many of you asked for posts about parenting. And for the longest time, I’ve just been ignoring that because I’m not a parent and so there’s not much that I can mention about that.
But I know some of the coolest parents and it’s not fair to keep them all to myself. Plus, I think that it’s important to hear lots of different perspectives.
So, for this first go-round I decided to ask some of the best people I know what they think about parenting. A lot of the parenting articles I see going around focus around how to deal with the hard parts of parenting–which, I would assume, is absolutely crucial. Parenting seems really challenging and you need tips and tricks and “you can do its” to get through the day sometimes. But for this post I just wanted to focus on the sweet, beautiful parts of parenthood. Because it’s important to direct our attention to the glorious parts of life, from time to time. And hopefully it’ll give you some things to think about in your family! Start conversations with your partners and friends about these things. I have absolutely adored hearing these stories from my friends.
I interviewed both moms and dads. This post is going to focus on the answers from those who identify as moms and, since Fathers Day is coming up, I’ll post the second part–the dad answers, this weekend. Sound good to you? I’m excited!
Let’s get into it!
What’s your first name and what ages are your kids?
Jes: 16, 9, and 5.
Jamie: 2, 4, and 7
Danielle: 6 months
Kellory: 8, 4, and 2
Miriam: 2 months
When was one of the first times you really felt like a parent?
I first felt like a parent when I took my oldest in my arms as a newborn, held my 2 year old step-son and cried with disbelief at planes crashing into buildings in 2001. I felt so helpless to protect them but determined to do it, and that’s what I think parenting is for me. –Jes
When they sent me home from the hospital with my first born and I was suddenly responsible for meeting every physical and emotional need of another human being. Also, the fact that I was so madly in love with and protective of this person I’d only known a few hours. –Jamie
Good question. I still don’t really feel like “a mom”… more like a person who the universe has entrusted with this baby. But I think the first time might have been when I was changing a massive blowout in the backseat of my car. It was pouring rain, I had 3 wipes left, and zero room for error. –Danielle
I think the first time I felt like a parent was my daughter (and first child’s) first day of preschool. I went back to the preschool to pick her up half an hour early because I was so anxious to see her and hear how her day was. I texted my husband in the parking lot, “I’m the first mom in the pick up line…”. He texted me back, “You’re the best mom in the pick up line.” –Kellory
I’ll let you know when that hits. There is this crazy, desperate, overwhelming love I have for him, but on our first night together, around three am, I remember thinking, “Gee, I hope his parents come get him soon, I’m too tired for this.” Then I realized no one was coming. Me. I’m the parent. So, maybe that was the closest I’ve come… Also, when I’m at work, sometimes instinct and hormones overwhelm my body and I feel a panic rise, because my baby needs me. He needs to eat. It’s been too long, how can he eat if I’m not there? Because your instincts come from a time before pumping and freezing breast milk was a thing. –Miriam
What is it that makes you a good parent?
Tricky question – I’ve never really felt like a “good parent” because I got pregnant at 17 (in a deeply fundamental house) and it was “get married or go to a home for unwed mothers” (I wish I was exaggerating) and that mentality and feeling of inadequacy has persisted. I think what makes me a good parent is accepting that this exists and deciding to do it anyway. I’m not maternal, this is a difficult role for me, but it’s one that I need to do and they didn’t ask for me as a mom so I will do my best. –Jes
Selflessness. Being willing to put their needs before my own and doing what it takes to make sure they are healthy, in every sense of the word. –Jamie
I honestly just feel like I’m trying to survive. Being a good parent is next level s***. But I think the thing I try to remind myself is that the time goes by so quickly, so I try to enjoy every moment with Ollie that I can get. Putting the phone down, letting the dishes wait, and truly engaging with him is the most important thing. And that’s hard. –Danielle
I think one thing that makes me a good parent is that I apologize. I want my kids to know that I’m human, and I’m still learning and growing, too and I will make mistakes. It’s important to me to show them how to fail gracefully and that in family relationships, we fess up to our low points and love each other through it all anyway. I want them to grow into adults that admit when they’re wrong and accept when other people are wrong. –Kellory
Gosh, I don’t know that I am yet. I hope to be. But so far communication, support, and practice. –Miriam
What’s one thing you hope your kids remember about you when they’re adults?
That we were able to change and grow and become who we felt like we are–at any given time. That we never showed them a “static” version of what a family or human has to be and do, and they have the space and strength to always strive to be their best selves. That we were wrong sometimes and changed and we were right sometimes and held firm. –Jes
That I was human and made mistakes, but that I tried to make their lives full and happy and showed by example how they should handle life and the people around them. –Jamie
I hope we can create a lot of experiences for him. Travel, culture, exposure to the world. I would love for him to have an open mind and curious spirit, and I hope he can appreciate how we try to nurture that. –Danielle
I hope my kids remember that I was silly. There is no shortage of goofing off in this home, and I hope they all get together and laugh about it someday. One of my favorite quotes about parenting is from Roald Dahl, ” A stodgy parent is no fun at all! What a child wants-and deserves-is a parent who is sparky!” –Kellory
Unconditional love, unconditional support, and being there and involved. Even when we’re busy. I hope. –Miriam
What do you really like about your kids?
They are not perfect. Sometimes they’re selfish little jerkwads–just like me! They feel safe to be themselves and regularly do so whether I prefer it or not, and I love that about them, even when it’s frustrating. –Jes
I love that they each have their own unique personalities and preferences and I can relate to different things in each of them, yet they also teach me things I don’t understand or can’t relate to. I love watching them take in new things each day and just how innocent and ready they are to embrace all the little things in life. –Jamie
His laugh and smile is contagious. We joke that we aren’t sure how we got a happy kid because both my husband and I are sarcastic and cynical to an extreme. I hope he is always easy going and happy, and I hope he can change us into happier people, too. –Danielle
Collectively, I like that my kids watch out for each other. I think they know each other really well and they sort of know what to expect from one another. They’re each very funny, too, in their own ways. I like how honest they are and what kinds of conversations that stirs up, and sometimes the humor and the honesty combine and things get really fun! –Kellory
His smiles. The way he tries so hard to have smiles and be happy even when he’s hurting or tired or sad. He’s only two months and he already inspires me to be better. He wakes up with a smile on his little face. When was the last time I did that? Also the way he reaches for us. He constantly has a hand searching to hold yours. Melts me. –Miriam
Thanks to all the moms who let me ask them these difficult to answer questions. And thanks, to you, for reading!
If you have kids, pick a question and answer it in the comments! I loved reading all these responses. If you don’t have kids, ask someone who does. It’s such an exciting thing to learn about your friends.