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"perfect parents": what are their best features?

We all know that parents are not perfect.  I really do strive to parent to the best of my ability, but there are times I do yell and scream, and sometimes I do the grip and shake.  This weekend, there was another family visiting with us, and I admire them so much.  These two parents are each working full-time, each in their own separate careers in social justice and nonprofit work.  They are passionate about their work.  Add to that, they have three children, one of whom shares a home with his other parent.  Add to that still, they have an immense social network, and they are found almost any given night canvassing the community, facilitating community conversations, outreaching in parts of the city where information is least likely to touch, phone-banking.  It amazes me to track them each on Facebook and hear about the issues, groups, and causes they actively support.  I am so thankful for this couple - despite being parents with three children aged 2 to 10- they are able to support one another in their various endeavors to allow them to be such meaningful, vital members of our Portland community at large.

I know there are no "perfect parents", but there are parents out there that we admire, respect, and want to embody, all to the fullest.  We all have our own priorities and will admire, respect, and want to embody different qualities in other parents.  In the bath this morning, I thought to myself, what do I respect most in other parents?  What qualities would I love to embody as a parent?

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In other parents, I respect most those who take great gobs of time to tank up their kids with loving attention. Any other accomplishment is gravy.

I would have to agree by saying that parents who make their children their priority and show unconditional love have my great admiration.

I know a mom who has 3 boys under the age of 6 with another babe on the way and though she keeps it real, I admire (and I am secretly envious) that she makes time to exercise daily, is the most well-read woman I know, cooks healthy meals every day, and spends quality time with her boys doing crafts, games, etc. (I swear its like she runs a mini preschool in her home)... all this and I swear she goes to bed by 10 every night! I don't quite know how she does it (smiling all the while too) - I feel like most days I'm lucky if I can accomplish any one of those things! Some days I just aspire to be more well-rounded as a parent!

Attorneymama, I agree to the aspiration to be a more well-rounded parent. I admire mamas in book clubs. I think the last full book I read was when I was pregnant with my first child ten years ago. A decade is a long time to go without reading a book.

Amen, Olivia- if it's not for work, or some book on how to get a baby to sleep or manage tantrums, I can't find time to read it!

I admire moms who are able to find time for themselves, and don't have to spend the whole time decompressing! I admire patience and compassion with the child/ren. I have all of these things sometimes, but not always when I need it the most. The thing I like the most about myself as a parent is my ability to empathize with my daughter, and sometimes I realize that I am all she has, and how scary it might be for her to ever think that I might not be there someday for some reason. Those are the times when I don't mind so much getting down on the floor and playing the dreaded Chutes and Ladders!

I know a mom who does an incredible job of parenting the way I wish I could parent. She's organized and patient. She teaches her spirited boy good behavior and manners without punishments, yelling, threats, or bribes (this is amazing to watch). She follows routines so that her kids know what is coming when. She provides interesting activities and healthy snacks. She teaches them things at every opportunity. She is an organizer and leader of other parents in her community. And she takes time away from her two little ones for her own professional and intellectual pursuits.

I know some other great mamas, too. I feel lucky to have them to look to for inspiration and to call on for advice.

"Perfect parents": what are their best features?

Patience and compassion. For their kids, their partners, their friends, and for themselves.

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