Opinion: Perfecting imperfect parenting skills


Let’s get real. I’m not a perfect mother, but I do think I did a fairly decent job of co-raising our four mostly grown children. To my knowledge, no one has been incarcerated, therapy has been minimal and gainful employment is within reach for all. For whatever reason, though, my heirs truly enjoy harping on my shortcomings as a parent. No Mom of the Year here, apparently.

Their main complaint is that I failed to model a healthy way to deal with hard emotions, which is absolutely true. In the grand tradition of the English, I generally suppress my feelings until I can bawl like a baby in private. And because my little darlings never saw me cry, they don’t know how to appropriately express sadness or grief. Fair enough, but that is what trained psychologists are for. Get over it.

A newer jab, stemming primarily from my highly extraverted first daughter, is that I don’t attend to their needs as social beings. Basically, because I don’t shower her with hugs and back scratches and other physical signs of affection at every waking moment, I don’t love her. That seems a bit harsh, and in my defense, I’m an introvert who works full time with hundreds of often-dramatic teenagers. I don’t have it within me to snuggle a bottle of cabernet at the end of the day, let alone a chatty Cathy girl-child. No matter. In her opinion, it’s another strike against my would-be claim to maternal glory. Whatevs.

I’m not perfect. No parent is. But generally speaking, my kids turned out fine. That’s got to be worth a Mother of the Month, right?

Peace out.