What Makes the Perfect Parent?

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Little Daddy Hugging Baby Doll

The other day Little Miss Green said, “How come you didn’t end up treating me like your Mum treated you?”

And it got me thinking about how I feel you can box people into two main categories – those who are “out of the mould” of their upbringing and those who go in an opposite direction.

Of course there are those who take the bits that are useful and leave the rest, but in general, when I look at my friends and how they parent, there is camp follow and camp no-follow.

I definitely fall into the later, and I question myself about this sometimes. I question whether I swing too far in the other direction and if that could be just as detrimental as that which I’m trying to avoid.

But then I remember that awareness is key and the very fact I am aware that my methods of parenting COULD be ineffective is enough.

Being aware is enough…

What I can’t bear and have to admit, I stand in judgement of, is lack of awareness.

I’ve been through the “my parents were hurting so they couldn’t have done things any different” or “they did the best they could in the situation they were in themselves,” and in my most compassionate and loving times I believe this to be true.

But when my inner child comes raging to the surface – scared, unheard, abused, not validated, ridiculed and scorned, I scream that it’s not good enough. Just because you were lacking doesn’t give you the right to pass lack on. I haven’t! I’ve used my lack of emotional connectivity, my fear and my insecurities to become the best parent I can.

I’ve looked at all the things that did not serve me, that hurt and damaged me and thought “no more!” I’ve realised the buck stops with me and I’m taking responsibility for ensuring that damaging parenting does not continue into future generations.

When I met my husband all those years ago, we looked at each other and knew we had come together to break bonds, make changes and pave the way for a better future.

My child was breastfed on demand until the day she decided to wean. She was home schooled until she wanted to explore going to school. Her opinions are sought out and valued. Her emotions from joy to sadness to anger are validated and met with approval. The things she believes in which grate against my own core values are accepted. When she’s making me feel angry or upset, I remember that she isn’t making me feel anything, I’m making a choice about how to respond.

I’m not saying that this is right for all children, but it is the way of parenting that meets my child’s needs as an individual.

Am I the perfect parent? Not by a long shot.

I’m impatient, irritable, spend too much time working, get tired easily, and I shout.

But I also love unconditionally (and express it!), know how to apologise, admit I’m fallible, am responsive and connected and apparently I’m fun to be with.

My daughter tells me she can talk to me about anything, that I understand her in a way nobody else does, that I’m loving, kind, and thoughtful.

We’re brutally honest with one another, so we know where we stand. There is no anger hiding behind the smiles. No resentment behind the words. No smouldering repressed feelings behind the façade.

In short, we’re authentic – and maybe, just maybe that’s the best there is…


mrs green

Mrs Green is passionate about living a sustainable life. She blogs about green tech, gentle parenting and natural health over at Little Green Blog. When she’s not being Mum to her 11-year-old spirited, free-range child, she runs a successful business, Gloucestershire web designs, a one-stop shop for WordPress web design, SEO, social media, writing services, and one-to-one business mentoring.

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with her mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.

7 Responses to What Makes the Perfect Parent?

  1. Dionna  

    Oh my – what a perfectly lovely post to read first thing this morning (and this Carnival). I, too, am breaking a cycle, and so I often have my own doubts and fears. But you’re right – we are trying. We are striving to connect and make things better. I know in my heart that my children will be healthier from our efforts to create strong, loving relationships.

  2. Lucy@dreamingaloud.net

    Oh Mrs Green, Mrs Green, what a can of worms this one is for me! You write it so well. With three kids, one of whom is extremely high needs my confidence in my ability, not my desire, to do it differently, often wanes. For me it is a mixed bag. The bits my mum was good at, that I aspire to repeat, I’m not so good at. The bits I swore I would not repeat, I have, though not everything. But I keep trying…

  3. Rosemary  

    I love this so much. We also parent from a “damage control” response & it’s challenging. I so identify with the dual compassion & rage at the tools that were passed on to me. I’ve come to learn the biggest differences, like you said, are authenticity and for us, apologizing and owning mistakes, seeking forgiveness when I’m in the wrong. It’s challenging to be humble. But seeing the blossoming connection with my girl makes it SO worth it. I love what your daughter has to say about you. Good job, momma.

  4. aNonyMous

    Wow! I could have written this myself. I absolutely agree! Their damage is not an excuse to parent in a damaging way. And the buck does stop with us! I’m absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes with my child that my parents made with me.

    Fantastic post!

  5. Lauren  

    I LOVE this post. I’ve seen the same divide in follow vs. no-follow, and also fall into no-follow. (I wonder if a lot of us blogger types do, which is why we need to write out the differences we’re making?)

    I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head for me, too, about lack of awareness or intentionality. I get irritated when I see people choosing a lack of choice. As you say, in my compassionate moments, I can see it differently, but I do advocate strongly for choice and awareness.

  6. Jennifer @ Hybrid Rasta Mama  

    Love this post! You bring a very real and honest perspective and I think a lot of parents should read this so that they can see what *is* possible in parenting. I am with Lauren, I get more irritated when I see people choosing not to choose and instead just going with their autopilot default response. I have many friends who do this and it is just painful. Thanks for a great post!

  7. Destany

    I feel so similarly about my upbringing. I try to do the tactful thing and keep a lid on my emotions, only to find them bubbling to the surface when I’m really not expecting it.
    When I do express bad feelings towards my parents, simply entertain bad thoughts, I feel a lot of guilt about it. Like a spoilt little brat, and an ingrate. I’m sorry that you have negative memories, but I will say that I feel better about entertaining my negative thoughts. I must allow myself permission to do so.
    Thank you for the wonderful post!