I goofed as a parent yesterday; I explained a scientific fact to my daughter in a way that made her feel rotten. So in the evening, I did what I always do when I feel like I need help with a parenting issue — I talked it over with my husband.
As usual, I was impressed with the immediacy and certainty of his response. I had come to the same conclusion myself, but I had to think about it, whereas he just knew. We talked over how this kind of situation could be handled in the future, and started thinking about how we might help her understand the specific question that had started it all. I’m confident that we’ve made progress on the issue — and I’m grateful to have such a competent co-parent.
We met in college 20 years ago, where his friends all joked that he’d grown up in Mayberry. I think he was the only person I knew in college who didn’t have issues with his parents. Over the years, I’ve had a chance to see how his parents handle situations with their adolescent and adult children, and listened to them talk about parenting issues, particularly as they’ve become grandparents. It’s clear to me that they really complement each other as parents, and that while of course they aren’t perfect, they’re far better parents than most. Now that we have children of our own, I’ve had the chance to see that his upbringing has provided my husband with parenting instincts I wish I had!
I know I can be a good parent even though my own upbringing wasn’t as positive, but I have to work a lot harder. I hope that some day, our children will find good parenting coming as easily to them as it does to my husband — then I’ll know we got it right!