Sometimes I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job as a parent. Relationships are good, all those consequences we've put into our Family Playbook--a list of infractions and their expected consequences--are well understood, the house is in almost perfect order.
My husband is certainly not perfect, but he's pretty extraordinary in his recognition of the value of parenting. He lives out this value every day in his interactions with our children. He gives everything he has to them -- every ounce of energy, attention, patience and love that he has within.
You might think you cherish your freedom but how can there be a stronger expression of freedom than taking on the responsibility of raising a new human being to the best of your ability and heart? That's when you can really define who you are.
While I have been trying to nurture my daughter in modeling healthy attitudes about body image all she is hearing is static because I have portrayed just the opposite. She is learning to hate her body because she has listened to me speak negatively about my own.
My son Seamus wears a dress. Actually he has two: a dark pink long-sleeved ballerina number with a leotard top and a short sleeved princess dress with pearls and ribbons. I am trying to check my straight (but not narrow), hetero-normative biases. I am trying to give my son more than two choices.
In the spirit of honesty, openness and pure transparency, here are true stories about the first year of parenthood. Some are mine, while others were generously shared by my like-minded and beautifully flawed parent friends.
Lindsey lives in NYC and co-founded her eco-friendly company, The Laundress, ten years ago following a successful career at Chanel, and has since been reviving the lost art of laundry care one person at a time.
As I stood sipping a cold and colorful beverage, I looked around at the faces that filled my daughter's 4th Birthday party and was amazed. I was amazed at the juxtaposition of her four-year-long life to that of my own 30 years before.
I did not "rescue" my boys any more than I rescued my daughter from my womb. I welcomed all of my children into my home as members of my family. We had no way to predict how successful it would be but we gave it our all. Did I get lucky? Absolutely, four times over.
Too many of us want to learn "how" (concrete behaviors and techniques) rather than "why" (philosophy and greater purpose). If we first chose a philosophy that resonates with us, the set of necessary behaviors aligned with that philosophy might come more easily, or even naturally.
We all know by now what "good" parents do; namely, sacrifice all time, energy and resources to the higher calling of raising children. However, it seems many have confused normative parental sacrifice with the unquestioned accommodation of their children's wants (not needs) and behaviors.
I know of no better show that captures the ups and downs of the first kiss, first fight with a friend, first failure on a test, first break-up, first play audition. All of these moments provide perfect entry points into conversations that allow you to share relationship values with your daughter.
I don't know everything, nor would I ever pretend to have all the answers about parenting a child of any age -- let alone one in the oft-dreaded "tween" zone. That said, I have stumbled into a bit of parental wisdom over the past few years.
If you are loosely, even somewhat of an expert, I will probably welcome your opinion. However, if you haven't been around a child in decades, I, and others in my shoes, may find some of your thoughts to be questioning.
One of the most challenging parts of caring for a child and a home at the same time is finding harmony between the two. You don't want your child to have to walk on eggshells, or your home to be a constant mess, but the two seem pretty exclusive.
Asking our kids to continually gauge the majority of their life experiences through fun binoculars (and to present them that way on social media) isn't just annoying and unrealistic, it's potentially harmful.