What Makes A Real Parent?

What Makes A Parent..A Parent?

Being a parent depends on very few things.

Of course, it requires Love. Care. Devotion. Nurturing. And that’s pretty much it. Certain things like DNA, actually don’t matter as much as some would like to think. You don’t have to share DNA to be considered a parent of a child you raise and love.

I have one son. While I do Love him, give him the best of care, devoting and nurturing, I have actually contributed to his DNA. Most days it doesn’t appear so, because he is a carbon copy of his Dad, but I’m pretty sure some genes are in there somewhere.

The strangest comment ever…

I attended a jewelry party not too long back this year (for those that don’t know, they are much like the old school tupperware, or the new school “wrap” parties, but much more fun), and it wasn’t long before I had one of the more insensitive comments about ‘family size’ directed towards me, that I have yet to have trumped.

During a casual conversation that had nearly each woman commenting on how many kids they currently had, and whether or not they wanted more, I replied while sipping a glass of chardonnay that “I already have one, and he’s more than enough right now.”

That’s when an acquaintance looked me directly in the eye, and without any hint of humor (or even a light tone) explained that, “You are not a parent until you have two.”

You are not a parent until you have two.

And she was dead serious and went on to explain. “That’s what someone told me, and they were right.”

“Well, I guess I’m not a parent then,” I laughed into my glass, still trying to comprehend exactly what I just heard. This woman went on to explain that until you have to play mediator between two fighting toddlers, or break up a fight amongst four children over a Barbie Doll, that “…you have no idea what it means to be a parent.”

Defining “parent”…

So being in labor for over 30 hours, to give birth to the sweetest little boy, who made my heart want to explode, didn’t make me a parent. Having panic attacks while watching him sleep at two days old, finding myself in literal fear for questioning my own ability to be able to give him everything I thought he needed, didn’t mean I was a parent. Cluster-feeding a 3 month old with a fever, putting aside my own hunger and sleep-deprivation, in order to do whatever it took to ease his pain, meant nothing. The fact I would give my life for my child was pointless…because I hadn’t done this twice.

It was everything I could do to bite my tongue. Any retort would have fallen on deaf ears. And as the mother of a only child, I know I can’t possibly be the only one who has heard these types of comments. One of my favorites (that this person did later use to me) was, “You don’t want them to be spoiled.”

Well, I can blame his grandparents for that. He was spoiled before he was ever born. So since the damage was already done, I don’t think purposefully making another little human being they can spoil again is going to solve anything.

So the question is then; what am I?

Since raising a child as their mother, loving them unconditionally, giving them everything you have and more, doesn’t qualify you to be a parent-then what does? Is there a magic number of children required to ensure the title of “parent” bestowed upon someone?

Well, I guess there is; two.

Well, right now I have an almost 13 month old. I’m not ready to have another one. And I have no shame about it.

But I would like to think that qualities like compassion, understanding, even just being charitable and uncritical of people, should be a higher requirement of what it takes to be a parent.

But, what do I know? While I might be the only thing that calms my fussy baby at the end of the day, I’m not a “parent.” Not by these standards. But I do know that I love my little boy, and will do whatever it takes to keep him happy, healthy, and safe.

And that should be all that it takes.

How I delt with the offhand comment that "In order to be a REAL PARENT, you must have more than one child..."

Kissing Kids? Return of the Sanctimommy

They’re back…

Everyone has their different styles of parenting, and showing affection. Unless it’s defined as actual abuse, no one is really better than another. That doesn’t stop the sanctimommies from poking their noses where it doesn’t belong, but then again, what really stops them from doing that? Continue reading “Kissing Kids? Return of the Sanctimommy”

Open Letter To That New Mom

Dear New Mother,
First, congratulations on your bundle of joy! Right now, they may not seem very joyful, but trust me, they are.

They may seem like screaming, inconsolable terrors from the depths of insanity. You might feel like nothing you do is right. You probably feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and as if you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew.

It’s ok. Almost every mother feels like this-a lot! This won’t be the last time you feel this way either.

You may even feel lonely and afraid as you adjust to the new weight of the unimaginable responsibility of caring for another tiny, helpless human being. This is ok too. 

Just know that you aren’t alone.

It does get easier…but then it becomes hard again. Just like Life itself. But what you are doing is a Great thing, And believe me, it is worth it. Even at 4am, running on 3 hours of sleep in the last two days, overwhelmed by teething and fevers and God knows what else that could possibly be wrong….it is worth it.

Your baby will look at you and smile. Snuggle up and coo so softly. Laugh at your presence. And all the anger, frustration, stress will (maybe even just temporarily) melt away. And you’ll see.

Don’t let the difficulties get the best of you. I know this is hard. I know this seems impossible sometimes. But we all have times like this.

Don’t let the stories of those “perfect mommies” make you feel like you’re failing somehow. Trust me, that seemingly “perfect” parent who’s child goes to sleep (and sleeps forever), eats all their veggies, hits milestones early, and is portrayed as the picture perfect baby-does something that makes that Fake Untouchable Parent cringe and want to pull their hair out. They just aren’t going to tell you about it. *wink*

But all the messes, meltdowns, and missed opportunities you gave up for your child, are all worth it in the end. They really are. And don’t for one second think that you are the first one to spend the day with dried puke (or pee..or even poop) on their clothes, too spent to think about changing, walking throughout the house with a squalling child just begging for a break. We’ve all done it. And anyone who isn’t sympathetic to that is not only untrue to themselves, but not worth wasting any energy on thinking about.

Find mothers who keep it real to form your tribe. It’ll help you keep your sanity, and you might even learn some things along the way.

Keep trekking. The Journey is long, but oh so worth it.

Sincerely,
Another Mom.

An open letter to all New Moms, from a New Mom

 

Guest Post: When Your Husband Is Trilingual (And You Aren’t)

Today I have a guest post running on Working Mommy Abroad (one of my favorite blogs!) about a very prevalent situation in our household. it’s growing by the day, and it’s something to look forward to.

My husband speaks three languages and will be teaching them to our son. I, however, do not.

So head over there and check it out, as well as other posts!

What “Being Christian” Means to My Family

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! Continuing our guest posts on the topic of Religion & Family, we have the wonderful Gina Carlisle, of ‘Mom Explores Orlando’, with us today. Please drop her some comments below, and check out her awesome blog! Thank You for letting us peek into your family life, Gina!
By:Gina Carlisle | Mom Explores Orlando

My husband and I grew up practicing the same religion differently. We both considered ourselves to be Christian, but my family only attended church sporadically and he was a devout churchgoer – driving 45 minutes each way every week to attend a small but tight-knit church. Despite these differences in practice, we were both raised with Christian values.

It wasn’t until I started studying religion and attending church regularly when I was in college that I really formed my own ideas. My parents both felt pushed away from the church when they were young because of ideas of how things should be done that were not based on scripture. I distinctly remember a story my mother told me about when she was a child and my grandmother missed church on Mother’s Day. My mom was told that her mother was going to hell. How awful that must have been to hear as a child (not to mention that nowhere in the Bible does it say “Missed church, go straight to hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200”)!

I’m not one to believe that you have to go to church in order to be a good Christian and I feel that my parents instilled excellent values in me without taking me to church every week. That being said, there is a community aspect to church that I’ve come to realize is increasingly important to me, especially raising my son. Being able to meet in a safe place where he can learn and make friends and ask questions is such a big deal and will shape who he becomes.

In trying many many churches as an adult before finding the right fit for our family, it’s become most important to me to instill in my son the importance of following Jesus and generally being a good person. The biggest part of this, in today’s world, is not passing judgment on others and bringing a “come as you are” attitude to the table, regardless of whether he’s in the company of Believers or not. Jesus loves everyone. Period. He doesn’t just love the people who do good deeds, or believe certain things, or are Christians. He loves everyone. It’s a difficult concept for some adults to understand, because there’s so much “gray area” in our lives as we get older, but it’s a concept that is infinitely easier for children because it really is just that simple.

As we’ve begun the journey of imparting these values to our son, we’ve done so in simple ways that he will be able to understand. We’ve started by saying grace when we eat dinner together and we say a prayer before he goes to bed. At 15 months old, he’s gradually started to understand that there’s some significance to what we’re doing and he tries to participate – holding our hands and saying “Aaaaamen!” when we finish, with a big smile on his face. It’s my hope that as he gets older and begins to have questions and wonders where he fits in to this world, he’ll have a solid foundation for knowing that he is loved by his Creator and that he can do so much good in the world by showing others the same unwavering love in all circumstances.

blog-portrait-without-watermark


Bio: Gina is a work-at-home mom who taught high school history until her son came along. A native Floridian, she enjoys sharing about her life, motherhood, and adventures in her hometown on her blog “Mom Explores Orlando”. When she’s not wrangling a toddler or working on her blog, Gina often dreams up new recipes to try out on her husband and plans vacations she won’t take for years.

What "Being Christian" Means To One Mom & Her Family