When I found out I was pregnant, I sat in my kitchen, looked at my husband and told him through tears, ”I’m scared.” Not because our child wasn’t planned, but because I genuinely was terrified that I wasn’t ready for all the parenting challenges that were before me.
Being a child of two former hippies, my early upbringing was a bit unconventional. I always knew that my parents loved me, but sometimes when I look back at my younger life I have to wonder, honestly, what my parents were thinking. Given that they had done their best, how could I ensure that I also didn’t screw up while doing my best with my children? The answer became fairly simple; there actually is no way to guard against that.
My parents’ struggles and lack of know-how gave me some pretty clear lines for things that I absolutely didn’t want to repeat for my own children. But these concepts were limited relative to the vast world of today’s parental challenges. As one might imagine, parenting threw at me things that I wasn’t prepared for- where I was missing a page from my parent handbook.
Recognizing my potential gaps in my upbringing, I attacked parenthood like anything else I had done in my life. I researched everything I could, yet even with that I realized I still didn’t have the answers. As an outlet for my feelings, I began to write essays about my experiences. In speaking with friends about parenting dilemmas, I started to realize that I was not the only one who felt ill-prepared. In sharing our experiences, I saw wisdom in these stories that should be shared.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I truly believe that support from others in the greater parenting community makes this job just a little bit easier. Each day I try and learn from others around me and fill in my missing pages. I am not the perfect person, or parent, and know that, with each experience, I evolve a little more. Ultimately I try to parent each day with my heart and mind, always hoping that my best is good enough.