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

 

3 Reasons Self-Care Is Crucial For Moms

We have an awesome guest post, written by Lisa Benavidez, on the importance of Self-Care as a Mother. If you don’t take care of yourself, it really is hard to care for others. I really enjoyed this, as I hope you all will too. Don’t forget to check out her blog!

It’s 8 pm, you’re getting your kids ready for bed and preparing for tomorrow. You’re exhausted, glad the day is over, and trying to decide between enjoying some quiet time or going to sleep.

I get it. I’m a mom too!

We go and go all day for our family. From cooking to cleaning to driving around from soccer to ballet. Some of us work or have a business too. We are supermoms, there is no doubt.

But being supermom doesn’t mean you have to do it all, all the time. Being a real supermom means you know that you are an important part of your family and they really do need you. And part of your role is making sure YOU are taken care of so that you can take care of your family. Right?

You hear the airline video tell you to put on your oxygen mask FIRST before helping others. As a mom we might think “No way! I have to make sure my kids are ok first!” But really, this is so important. If something happens to you, who will be able to care for them?

And I know what it feels like to put your oxygen mask on last. A few years ago I got rheumatoid arthritis and started a whole new journey. I had to take a break from parenting because I physically could not do things. I quickly had to learn that my health was important. I had to take care of myself if I wanted to start taking care of my kids again.  You can read more about my story here.

What I want to share with you is how important self-care is especially for moms! Here are 3 reason why it’s crucial for moms to take care of themselves.

1. YOU CAN’T SERVE FROM AN EMPTY CUP. If you are not at your best, how are you giving your best to your family? Stop half-assing (sorry for the language!), and take care of yourself so you can be 100% for the people you love!

2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET.  Self-care is NOT selfish! Taking care of YOU is taking care of your family. You are part of your family. And to be a little harsh, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Flip the language mama…it’s ok to make sure you are taken care of!

3. MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO. Your kids are watching you. If you take the time to show you’re important and deserve to be happy and fulfilled, they learn to do the same. Teach them to love and care for themselves too!

And a bonus reason is that when you are taking care of yourself, you are a happier mom. When you are a happy mom your family feeds off that energy and is happier too!

So what will you do today to start taking better care of YOU?img_7885

Lisa Benavidez is a wife, mom of 3 girls, coffee fanatic, lover of life and a Happiness Coach for moms! She helps busy moms who struggle with finding the time to enjoy life and feel like they’re losing themselves in the process, to instead create balance and ditch the mom guilt by implementing clear boundaries and changing their mindset, so that they can finally step into the best version of themselves and live their dream life!

3 Reasons Self-Care Is Crucial For Mothers, and how you can take steps towards taking care of yourself, in order to care for your children

Bruce’s Birth Story

Today, June 30th, is my little boy’s birthday. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by! His birth isn’t much out of the ordinary, but it’s one I’ll never forget…especially since you were a week past your due date! Continue reading “Bruce’s Birth Story”