My friend Samira wrote in her blog, mamasfeet (tagline: Join me through the journey of parenthood. Beware: There is no escape hatch.) asking What kind of parent are you?
Her children are small – a baby, one potty training and one finished – and I am so, so grateful to be far past that stage. When we worked together, her children were not yet born, so I only know them from pictures from afar (Houston and now Iran).
I was truly struck by one comment of hers: “In fact I plan on incorporating some new concepts I learned about to help authoritarian moms, like myself, get their point across without creating a disconnect.”
That was so not me. I considered my childhood strict, and while I wasn’t going to go flower child backwards, I’ll say my standards were relaxed a bit. No, the in-laws did not always seem to like the results, but my feeling on that was, “I live with these people, you don’t.”
So anyway, here’s what I told Samira. Feel free to chime in, and please do visit her blog as well:
I am so intrigued, and I say this without judgment, that you call yourself an authoritarian mom. For various reasons I was not that way, and I am interested in knowing how this acknowledgment of your own desire to continue that path will play out as your three blossom. (Please, please take that in love; I think you know that is what I mean.)
Yes, you want them to have the best of you, but that requires that you not lose yourself. So many of us put ourselves on hold while our children grow and it does not need to be that way.
My babies are nearly 20 and 21, girl and boy, and I am blessed they remain under my roof. Maddening though it is sometimes that we raised them to be independent thinkers, I would not change that. And my advice to any parent boils down to this: Pick your battles. Choose what is important to you, stand by it, and let the rest wash past you. In the process, your child learns your values, and that is the best gift we can offer.