What Is a Parent?

I’ve been noticing on some blogs, and even some stuff on facebook, about people talking about some of the things that go into being a parent.  Which is what we all want, right? It’s not just about getting pregnant, or getting past a certain trimester, it’s about being a mom and/or dad.  So I wanted to talk a little about my parents, and the kind of parents Hubster and I want to be.

To start with, I would like to  mention a blog post that got put on facebook.  Told from the point of view as a single dad, it carries a lot of weight of things I have thought and seen.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.danoah.com%2F2010%2F09%2Fyou-just-broke-your-child.html&h=5b5f5

I know it may seem like a lot to read but it’s good stuff.

My parents aren’t perfect, but they had their good points.  Their great points.

I’m more of a daddies girl, we have a lot in common my dad and I.  Some it arbitrary (both born in March, both right handed, loving the water… although I never did figure out how to water ski no matter how many times he tried to teach me) but some of it more significant.  We are both sensitive, slow to get angry, and emotional.  My dad is a workaholic and so he missed stuff.  And then there was the whole getting-remarried-thing a couple of years back that as left a lot of hurt …ok, but as a kid, he was a great dad.  He gave hugs.  He said he loved me.  He never yelled at me for drawing all over his engineering/graphing paper (that stuff can’t be cheap).  He took me and my brother to ToysRus every Christmas and walked up each and every isle as we blabbered away about every toy we wanted. (Not that we got them all, but that has a good chunk of time spent that we were probably really annoying and greedy) I remember when I got old enough to realize that not all dads were affectionate and patient.  I was blown away.  Really? How could they not love their kids and show it???

My mom and I have been more of a difficult relationship.  She has a lot of regrets from her childhood and was trying so hard to make sure they didn’t happen with us… but this was a classic case of when people smother and push too hard, the reaction is to push back and push them away. She brought out a short temper in me and we had many a-screaming match when I was a teenager.  But for all her flaws, she did tell my brother and I she loved us.  She made it to every play, took me dress shopping for every dance, taught me how to sew and cook.  She really didn’t want to be a parent that said “Do as I say, not as I do” and knew that if she didn’t teach us how to cook, grocery shop, or handle fragile objects we wouldn’t learn it.  (In department stores when I wanted to handle the expensive and breakable stuff instead of yelling “Don’t touch that!” she would say “let’s hold it together”. )

The kind of parent that I want to be would be to combine the best of both my parents.  I want to tell them and show them that I love them.  Give hugs and kisses, read stories to them (lots of stories!) I want to teach them how to swim and love the water, show them how to cook.  I want to be patient and understanding of them as they figure things out.  (I remember one time I tried to make dinner for my family, and decided to take some very expensive steaks and marinate them with a “rub”… which was straight cayenne pepper.  It would be understandable for a parent to be upset but my mom showed me how to rinse them and then marinate them in milk to try and dial-down the heat.)I want to help my kid with class projects and take them to dance classes or art classes or riding lessons and let them pursue the things they enjoy.  I want to encourage them to grow up to be strong, capable adults who are generous and kind, who can make good decisions based on educating themselves as opposed to accepting whatever the status quo or culture tells them.  Hubster and I talk about wanting a patch of land where we can have cows and horses and chickens and gardens, so that our kids will grow up knowing the value of work, appreciating the food on their table, knowing where their food comes from.  People talk about “sustainable living” like it’s some new “green” revelation but the fact is that is how the majority of people have lived for the better part of history and it is a new development to buy everything from grocery stores and have it all mass produced.  And yes, we want our children to have faith, to grow up in the church and know that God exists and loves them.  But I also don’t want to be the parent that smothers their child so that as soon as they hit 18 they rebel.  It’s a balance to teach them and show them but then know that they have to make their own decisions because if they believe something out of fear of me then that isn’t really faith.

So this has been a lot of rambling and I don’t even know if it makes any sense or not, but it’s what’s been on my mind. What are your goals/hopes/dreams as a parent?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Oh I love this post. All of the above (but not the church thing)
    I want to have kids that are active and I want to be able to run about with them and play frisbee. I want to get them into circus classes for all kinds of neurodevelopment reasons, and for fun. I want them to learn dance and a martial art for being aware of and grounded in they’re bodies, and for the discipline. I want to teach them the magic of words and the joy of books, I want them to eat healthy, without drama over veges etc (idealistic, huh? I know what a fussy bugger I was as a child). I want to try and teach them tolerance and acceptance of difference, to be able to talk about all the different faiths people have, and that everyone is a person even if they have disabilities, deformity or disfigurement. I want to encourage them to use their imaginations, that if they have an imaginary friend its ok, and if they see things differently to the way I do, its ok too.
    I want them to learn music and have some appreciation for harmony and discord.

    Maybe this sounds like the rantings of a hippy idealistic non-parent . . .

    Reply

  2. Ya, parents always look at me like “you’ll see!” when I start listing my opinions on parenting… but I think it’s ok to be idealistic. We have to have goals, true? I think I’m going to start putting up my opinions on here so that someday when/if I become a parent I can look back at my ideals and compare my hopes and dreams with reality…

    Reply

  3. Love your post… you’re so right – all this TTC heartache is about being a parent (not just getting pregnant) and sounds like you’ll be such a great parent :)) xoxo

    Reply

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