Being a “not like all the others” parent…

This post was inspired by a woman I am privileged to call a dear friend, Cecily Kellogg.

She wrote a post today that touched me so deeply.  I started commenting on her blog and two paragraphs in realized that my comments could end up being as long as her blog post.  So time to move my thoughts on to my own blog.

In her post (which you absolutely MUST read!), Cecily talks about “Sometimes I feel like I’m just cut from different cloth than most of the other moms I know.” and “…I still feel sometimes like I just don’t get it.”   That feeling that we, as mothers (or fathers for that matter) are just not the same as the other parents out there, so we question whether we are the ones doing something wrong.

Every mother feels this way and the ones who say they don’t are Stepford Wife robots. Or have the money to pay someone else to parent their kid.   I know I feel that way every single day.

I have made choices as a mother that have been laughed at, frowned upon, questioned and a whole lot worse.  I have been told that I am not really a mother because I made the decision that my sons were better off living with their father.  I have been accused of abandoning my sons.  Want to find a way to make a mother feel like she just doesn’t get it?  Tell her that her sons will never grow up right because  she is not a daily part of their lives.  – Just stab me in the heart why don’t you?

I have been far from a perfect parent but I treasure every moment of uniqueness, honesty, openness and sometimes just plain weirdness with my kids.  Best of all, I know they do too.

It took until they were older for my sons to express that they were mad at me for choices I had made.  For some of those choices their anger and disappointment was justifiable.   But throughout the sorrow (and guilt – massive amounts of guilt!) that their words spurred in me,  I knew in my heart that it was my uniqueness, my honesty, my openness throughout their lives that gave them the ability and freedom to express those emotions and work with me to move past the feelings.

My sons and I have very unique relationships.  Relationships that seem odd to most people.  We don’t necessarily talk every day.  I often find out things in their lives at the last minute.  I am not there for every scraped knee, trip to the ER or to calm nerves before a date.  Yet, I am always there.  I am there in the way they walk, talk and sing at the top of their lungs in the car (like I do). I am there in the voracious way they absorb information, in their love of music, theatre, movies, books, photography, writing, gardening and all of the other things I have a passion for that they have learned to love.  I am there in their patriotism.  I am there in their compassion and caring for others.  I am always there.  While I may not have been there every moment, I tried my hardest to make every moment that I was there count.   To try my hardest to make sure that they always knew they were loved and that they knew right from wrong.

I may not have been the perfect “Donna Reed” mother.  I may not have been the one making their lunches every day, driving car pool or tucking them in every single night.  What I have been is a woman who was not afraid to show her children that she was not perfect.  More importantly, I showed them that they did not need permission to not be perfect.   The one lesson that I hope my children have learned is that it is not only ok to be unique, to follow your heart, to pursue your passions, but that as long as you are kind, compassionate, thoughtful and never intentionally hurt anyone, it is absolutely preferable.

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