So listen, or look, or whatever, I have two kids. They are both male and they are both young. I am 30 years old and I started parenting at the ripe old age of 22. I am covered in tattoos and I have a mohawk. I listen to a lot of loud music and I curse almost constantly. I never tone it down, not even when I interact with my offspring. As a mom, many things about me are what most would consider atypical. I don't enroll my kids in a ton of extracurricular activities, I expect my kids to do a lot for themselves, I don't censor what my kids watch or listen to, I would rather my kids dance fearlessly in public than get straight As, and I encourage my kids to be as weird or as normal as their little hearts desire. As a mother, this hasn't always been easy because there is a lot of pressure and competition related to being a certain type of parent. I was reflecting this morning and how I function at my own level and I still manage to be a good mom, because I don't think that I was born with the innate ability to parent.
1. Know Who You Are
It took me nearly 30 years, but I have a pretty good sense of self. I am open and honest about my shortcomings. I think that one of my biggest strengths is that I am not constantly fluctuating on who I am and who I want to be or how I want to be seen. I am solid in my identity and in my self-awareness. Because of this, my kids know what to expect from me. They don't balk when I cuss because they know I'm not mad. My kids understand that loud music isn't a sign of frustration from me and they know that they can expect to come home to a messy house. My sense of self is also encouraging to my children because they see that it is possible, even preferable, to just be who you are and not try too hard to fight it.
2. Don't Expect Your Kids to Be Like You
I find it immensely disappointing that my youngest son likes to play sports. I think that when I became a mom I was hoping to raise liberal, homosexual, punk rockers with absolutely no desire to fit in. I didn't get what I wanted because we can't force our kids to be something that they aren't. Neither of my kids wants to rock a mohawks and only one them enjoys listening to The Cure with me; one of them really wants to play sports and do competitive things I was really bummed out for a second and then I realized that I don't want to be like all of the douchey, damaging parents who force their kids to do things that they don't want to do. The best thing I can do for my kids is foster their desire and ability to be who they are, which is what I wish someone would have done for me when I was a child.
3. Just Own It
I used to try and justify my tattoos, the way I talk to my kids, their lack of enrollment in activities, the state of my house, and whatever else I thought people didn't understand about my parenting tactics. The fact of the matter is, it isn't very "me" of me to care what people think. When I think about it, nothing that anyone thinks or says is going to change the way I talk to and treat my dudes; so why not just be who I am to the best of my ability. My kids dress themselves, so they almost never look very put together, and instead of telling everyone looking at them that they dress themselves, I just embrace the fact that I get to sleep for fifteen extra minutes while they get ready. Whatever kind of parent you are, just fucking do it. Just be that. The minute you start to parent intuitively, the more effective you will be and the less exhausted you will find yourself. Constantly trying to be a certain way isn't natural and therefore it takes more effort, and honestly it is an utter and complete waste of energy.