What are the most common needs of any parent?
I think all parents need to realize that they are not alone in their imperfection. No matter how prepared you think you are, parenting has a way of throwing you curve balls. One of the best ways to deal with these is to learn from others who have been in similar situations and who can offer their wisdom and insight.
Were there any surprises, when you interviewed other parents… surprises about what was “missing” from their parental “playbook”?
Parenting is a nonstop activity. And sometimes it takes all you have to get through a minute, an hour or a day. When you are dealing with an issue, especially when it relates to your child, you may know that something isn’t right or that there is a bigger issue to analyze, but you just don’t have the time because you are so busy keeping up with all the tasks of living. As parents spoke with me during the interviews, there were several occasions where they started to work through an issue on a much deeper level than they had previously.
What story moved you the most — or were there several stories?
Several stories moved me because they were driven by the parents’ love for their children. The one, however, that stuck with me the most was And This Too Shall Pass, because the advice in it is not only relevant to parenting, but to life in general: “Clinging to memories can block the ability to create new ones—whether they be bad or good. Live life in the present and enjoy and value the people still in it.”
What was the funniest story…?
I would have to say that the funniest story to me was, That’s not a Toilet! Ironically during that round of interviews, I found that several of the mothers had had similar experiences. The image of a child trying to control a major potty accident by placing his hands over the insistent areas made me giggle, and his solution to his problem made me outright laugh. I’d share the story, but then I would spoil it further.
What were some of the wisest pieces of advice you picked up ?
Parenting cannot be approached with a one-size-fits-all mentality. Our children were born with their own soul imprints and we are each different parents, shaped by our upbringings and experiences. While it is important to learn from others, it is equally important to customize your parenting approach to determine what works best for you and your family.