What Makes a Good Parent?

August 20th, 2016 |  Mandi Mitchell 
Being parents, my fiance and I are always worried about how badly we’re messing up and if we’re doing a good job. We’re constantly questioning our parenting skills and wondering if maybe we act too much on impulse and not enough reason.

Tonight I watched my fiance look over our sleeping son and he started to cry. MY fiance. The Marine Corps finest, a Grunt. The man who has been to war who was deployed 3 times. The man who feels no pain. I couldn’t help but think; What is a good parent, really?

Inline image 1My fiance, who would kill me if he knew I was writing this, has PTSD, anxiety and a short temper. He would never ever hurt any of us, that thought never crosses my mind, but he does snap sometimes from the stresses of having a baby and 2 boys that aren’t his biologically. Hell yeah, he occasionally breaks down from the stress. He will even serenade us from time to time with occasional yelling. But doesn’t everyone have a breaking point? There’s only so much pressure and stress one person can take before they have their mini meltdown and explode.

It’s these little mini meltdowns that we have that cause us to question whether or not we’re good parents. But tonight, I watched him really cry for the first time over our son. Sure there was that moment of happiness where a tear trickled down his face the day our son was born but tonight, tonight was the first time I have ever really seen him cry and he uttered the words ‘he’s so beautiful, I don’t ever want anything bad to happen to him. He’s so innocent and I just want the best for him.’

And just like that, it sank in. He was a perfect father. Regardless of the media and their two cents and all these doctors who are ‘experts’ (who all seem to have conflicting theories).

There has never been so much pressure, as there is now, on how to be a good parent. I think parenting is one of those topics that has been probed, examined and gone over with a fine-tooth comb. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what it means to be a good parent.

So what does make a good parent? Is it that type of parent who is calm and never yells? Is it that type of parent who is always volunteering for the PTA and extracurricular activities? Is it that type of parent who I refer to as the smother mother?

I honestly don’t think there is a clear concise cookie-cutter definition of a “Good Parent.” I think we all grow up with different views, values, morals, cultures, traditions. We all grow up with different types of parents who raised us all using different tactics. Maybe you had the mom who always seemed to be too involved or the dad who seemed less than thrilled when you got a ‘B’ on your report card. The way our parents reacted or disciplined us, regardless if someone else believes it was the wrong way, doesn’t mean that certain ‘types’ of parents or their styles are better than others. Just because someone shows love differently than you doesn’t mean they don’t love with all they have.

Parents now argue over ‘Cry it out’ vs. Co-sleeping. Breastfeeding vs. Bottle feeding. Tough it out vs. Let it out. Discipline vs. Talking it out. Thing is, each kid is their own individual. What works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for the other. So, if Mary Jo Johnson only has to talk sweetly to her heavenly little angel to get her to listen then all the more power to her BUT talking sweetly to my boys only lets them know they can further walk all over me. So guess what, I need to yell sometimes. Does that make me a bad parent? Should I let my kids cause total anarchy and not yell at them if they’re running around like rabid little succubus’ ? I’m not here to be their best friend, I’m here to guide them in the right direction.

That’s all we really want for our kids right? To instill manners, independence, and responsibilities. To raise them to be kind and generous. We want what’s best for them. To see them happy and healthy.

I don’t think anyone really knows what they’re doing. I think we use past experience and tactics that were used on us when we were little and try to figure things out day by day. Maybe in others eyes, I am a “Bad Mom”. Maybe I do fly off the handle too much. Maybe I do get stressed out too easily. I don’t sit home and bake cupcakes for school functions. I don’t understand why the hell I can’t send my kid to school with peanut butter because Suzy Q’s son who sits 2 miles away from my son at the school down the street has a peanut allergy. I am far from perfect. But does that make me a bad mom?

Everything I have and everything I do is for my children. Those 3 little monsters that drive me crazy on a daily basis have my whole heart. They’re my world and I would do anything for them. That right there is what I think makes a good parent. Someone who loves their child unconditionally and tries their damn hardest to give their children a better life than what they had. To keep them safe and want the best for them. To lift them up and let them know they can do anything.

I think if a parent loves their kids, show them they care and supports them in all their endeavors, that parent is a good parent.

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