The other day, I posted this picture on my Brain FUNdamentals Facebook page. I’ve been thinking about this quote ever since then and about what it really means to be a “real” parent.
I’ve written other posts about how I, myself struggle with being the parent of a special needs child. I’ve written about how I can relate to families I work with because I “get it”. I’ve shared with the world some of my most vulnerable sides in this blog and I hope that it has helped some of you. It has certainly been cathartic for me!
So when I think about this perfect parent thing and the “real” parent thing, I think about what the day-to-day life is for parents. Of course, that can look dramatically different for every parent, every family, and every situation, right?
Now- I want to say right up front that I am counting in all parents here. Not just those with children that have special needs. Many of the families that I work with do have children officially diagnosed with labels that qualify as being “special needs”, but for others- their child just may struggle in life due to other (less specific) needs. My point here is that we’re all parents. And none of us is perfect, whether we think we are or not. Whether we want to be or not.
None of us are perfect because parenting doesn’t come with a manual. We are all just finding our way through this thing we call being a “mom” or a “dad. And perfection? Well, that’s just not feasible- there’s way too many moving parts.
Ok, so having said all that, what do I think is being a “real” parent instead?
I think being a “real” parent is about making mistakes.
I think that being a “real” parent is having a house that may be less than clean.
I think that being a “real” parent is sometimes telling your child “Because I said so- that’s why!”
I think that being a “real” parent is privately crying after your child tells you “I hate you!” even though you know it’s not true.
I think that being a “real” parent is advocating for, fighting for, and maybe even being “not-entirely-truthful” in order for your child to get the support that they need. Although- let me add a caveat to that- as I wrote about in the post “Stand Fors”, honesty is important to me so the “not-entirely-truthful” thing is something that definitely weighs on me.
I also think that being a real parent is knowing that you’re not perfect. Knowing that you’re real and not perfect. And- accepting that.
Perfection is overrated, really, don’t you think? I mean, think about how boring life would be if we were all perfect!
So- I choose real. Actually, I suppose it would be more accurate to say real chose me!
And you know what else? I choose to surround myself with other real parents. Other parents that make mistakes, and sometimes say “Because I said so…”. For me, that’s where I want to be- with the “real” parents.
If this blog post rings true for you too- join me, won’t you? Be a “real” parent along with me. I have knowledge that I can share with you, and I know you also have knowledge to share with me. I promise to remain “real” and keep with the spirit of all that brings with it.
Together? We can do great things.