The idea of becoming a parent is sometimes terrifying. Just thinking of all that responsibility that you have–over a whole other person. Shit, sometimes I can barely roll out of bed in the morning, how am I supposed to roll out of bed—unexpectedly–to the wailing cries of my future child. Nevertheless, becoming a mother is something that I seriously hope for in the future. I want to be a soccer or [insert whatever “in” activity the kids are into these days] mom. I want to be the involved, attends PTA meetings (or at least tries to) type-of-mother—without being annoyingly overbearing. I want my kids to be able to come and talk to me about their lives–like really talk. Not like those filtered down conversations that I used to have with my parents–when I was talking, but I wasn’t really talking because I knew they wouldn’t understand. I want my kids to know that I understand, I empathize, and most importantly I care.
Basically, I view Cliff & Claire Huxtable–who achieved a healthy balance of discipline and genuine care and love for Sandra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy (and even Oliva)—as a good parenting model. But not all of us can be the Huxtables—who managed to balance their professional life with their family life. So I’m just gonna make a few points about things that I will do/will not do as a parent.
1. I will not make my children feel like they are inadequate or “less-than.”
A lot of things/people will attack their self-esteem and self-worth (even they will at times) and I definitely will not contribute to them feeling inadequate or simply “not enough” in any way..
2. I will not police any aspects of my child’s appearance or weight.
Refer to reasoning for 1. I dealt with this when I was younger and it completely tarnished my self-esteem and whatever positive body-image I could have had of myself from the ages of 8 to about 11. It is one thing to be made fun of by your classmates for your noticeable weight gain–because hey kids are assholes. But to come home and have to deal with your family–particularly your dad making subtle (and not so subtle hints) about how much prettier you would look if you lost a little weight–hurts, especially at very impressionable age of 8. Eventually, I went through a growth spurt (like most kids do so wasn’t really sure why it was a big deal that I was a chubby 8-10 year old). But my first-hand experience of feeling fat–and therefore ugly (connections an insecure 8 year old girl makes)–and then having that feeling reinforced by your parents will guarantee that I will never, ever shame my child for their weight and/or appearance. I want my child to know they’re beautiful exactly the way they are. Everyone else–from their peers to messages in media–tries to tell them otherwise, so why would I–as a parent–make them feel like they are anything less than beautiful?
3. I will want my kids to be involved in extracurricular activities/sports that they actually have a genuine interest in.
Refer to “be a soccer or [insert whatever “in” activity the kids are into these days] mom.” Yes, I will be that mom. I really want my kids to have interests other than watching TV and playing videogames (because that was totally me).
4. I will not be one of those “cool moms” who tries to be more of a friend than a parent.
Yes, it might have worked between Lorelai and Rory–but can’t see it working for me (unless I have a kid like Rory–up into season 4). I do want my child to be able to talk to me about their life because there’s nothing worse than having a purely authoritarian parent who you have no emotionally connection with. But at the same time, I want my child to know that there is a definite boundary that makes it clear that I am the parent and you are the child. With that boundary, there is an understanding that there’s a certain level of respect you show me. So no missy/mister, you will not talk to me in any which way, “I’m not one of your little friends” (Thanks mom, for that.), and you will have to treat me with respect because remember who brought you into this world–and who will surely take you out.
5. I will not try to influence you to make certain career/college choices.
Of course I want my kid to go to college and receive that sought over, expensive, collect $40,000 worth of debt higher education. But if my kid doesn’t see college in their future because they want to pursue a less practical profession—I would certainly feel iffy about it, but I don’t think I would constantly berate them with the common disappointed parent script of “Why would you do this to me?” and “You have so much more potential than this!” and “You’re making a huge mistake!” I would definitely try to steer my kids in the direction of college and professional life, but if they don’t want that at all–my complaints will be futile because you truly cannot make your children pursue something that they do not want for themselves. On the other hand, if my kid went to college and majored in something that I–myself–would never consider or think of for them, I would not berate them with my opinion as well. Honestly I would be happy that they’re in college in the first place.
6. I will accept, support, and love you and like you for who you are.
Growing up I couldn’t help but feel like they was a sense of conditional but not unconditional love in my household. Not to say that my parents did not love me, provide for me, and give me nurturing and support–but I couldn’t help but feel like somehow they wished that I could be a little bit different than who I was. That if I was a kid without an intense love for honeybuns and orange chicken, who wasn’t so sensitive, and who wasn’t so painfully shy–then I could really feel fully accepted by my parents. Unconditional love implies that I will not love/like you any less because of your flaws and/or shortcomings. While conditional love suggests that my love only goes as far as long as you meet these requirements I deem as lovable. I will forever give unconditional love to my child. And while I may not always be happy with the choices my child makes–I will strive to accept them for exactly who they are. And enjoying your child’s company, acknowledging their funny, sarcastic sense of humor (which they would definitely get from me), and just admiring them who they are all part of just liking your kid. And that is just as important as unconditional love.