What are some essential parenting skills?


Children are messy, and ask a gazillion questions, and are hilariously honest, and have a long learning curve.

They’re amazing!! But they’re not easy.

Patience is essential, at every stage. Its important to talk and listen. To play and work. And to not lose your temper.

But you will.

The single most transformative moments of your child’s life, will happen when you’re exhausted and stressed out.

I’ve never come back from a week laying on the beach, getting massages and lots of sleep- rested and ready to deal with an essential issue.

To be fair, that’s because my kids go on vacation with me.

Baring a few exceptions, I haven’t had more than a weekend without kids in 19 years. (One is easy to trade or get a sitter for, but 3 isn’t!)

Nope, its ALWAYS after a long day, when I’m completely exhausted, after a night of too little sleep (because of a kid) when they want to ask the most probing questions.

“How did you know that Dad was Dad?”

“What would you do if I got kidnapped?”

“If I was arrested for being a serial killer, would you go to my trial?”

I’ll admit, that last one shook me. I mean … what is the appropriate answer to that question? I’ll tell you what it probably isn’t — “Your best shot to not get caught is to clean up after yourself. Best practice with your bedroom!”

Parenting fail … though I did manage to get a push in there for cleaning! .. sigh…

I mean, the answer should be no, right? I don’t want to raise a serial killer!!! … on the other hand, isn’t this just a messed up “loyalty test” question? (I checked, no animal mutilation or torture … I think we’re good. BUT HOW DO I KNOW?!)

I’m not really sure if my husband saved it with his response “Heck no! If you’re dumb enough to get caught, I’m not going.”

Well … at least we know where the lines are drawn in our family.

Whatever question you have prepared for- will absolutely NOT be on your child’s test.

BUT, I guess it’s good that they feel free to ask me anything. .. right?

That’s the other thing about parenting- you REALLY don’t know if what you’re doing will work out in the long run … until it’s too late to change it.

If, like me, you screw it up “I knew Dad was Dad because he is Dad” with patience, you can go back an amendment your answer. “So, I think I misunderstood your question last night” (is 3 am last night? Close enough!)

“I knew I wanted to marry your Dad, because he was the best man I’d ever met. He is hard working, and funny, thoughtful, and rock solid in his beliefs. He made me want to be a better person, without making me feel bad that I wasn’t. That’s what made me fall in love with him, and keeps me falling in love with him all over again.”

“No.” said my 4 year old. “I mean, why did your decide that he got to be the dad, and you had to be the mom?”

Yup. Misunderstood that one, all the way around. Fortunately, my husband had a response.

“I called dibs.” he said. “Good call Dad!” said my 3 year old daughter. Worked out all right. Because 20 years later, she is a wonderful mom. WAY better than I was!

Even if she did call me panicking because her son was trying to pull off “his credentials”. I turned in panic to my husband, “Don’t worry,” he said, “even though we have our hand on it all the time, its attached pretty well. As soon as it hurts, he’ll quit!”

Hmm… maybe girls were easier… when they were little. I just told them to “be gentle with yourself”.