Parenting Blog

Quick Thoughts: On Becoming a Parent (and Staying True to Yourself)

There are an overwhelming number of items to consider upon discovering a baby inside your belly (or for guys, discovering that a certain little someone will soon call you ‘dada’…then pee on you). One thing that, it seems to me, is too-often overlooked by newly-minted or expecting parents is the importance of staying true to yourself. Now, if your a heroin addict; do not stay true to that self. But for everyone else without a debilitating and harmful addiction; never forget what makes you unique and interesting as an individual. Abandoning the who and the what of yourself shouldn’t be part and parcel with becoming a dad or mom.  And retaining your interests and passions after your baby is born does not, in and of itself, make you selfish or even remotely narcissistic.

If we want our children to grow into fascinating young people (a noble raison d’etre, me thinks), we mustn’t dumb down who we are as people or put a distance between our passions and our children.  We must remain actively involved in whatever it is that brings us joy – music, film, nature, cooking, comic books, travel, gardening, knitting, reading, sports – and share with our kids that which makes us happy, thus letting them see the side of us that existed before they came along. Don’t separate the kid stuff from the adult stuff (um, to a point I guess).  Strive to integrate both worlds so that your new family life doesn’t overrun, or delete, your personal life; the two can work together and enhance each other.


The Bear just asked what I was writing. I told her that it’s an article about the importance of folding a child into your already interesting life, just like, when baking muffins, we fold the morsels into the batter – not whipping them around haphazardly, but still making sure every inch of batter is touched by the new ingredient; thoughtfully and patiently.

What does this mean, exactly?  If you like bird watching, strap your little one on to your back or front (preferably with one of those devices designed for such strapping, not with duct tape) and watch some damn birds!  True, the child may have zero idea what is going on, but he is with you and you with him, doing what you love to do and loved to do long before there was a him.   Over time, you’ll see the cumulative impact of these shared experiences.  As the child grows and becomes more aware of what you are sharing with her, your daughter will better understand you as a person, be more capable of appreciating what makes you tick, take joy in seeing you happy, and all of this may very well lead to the higher likelihood of a quality relationship between parent and child when the more challenging years roll into town.

Well, that’s the idea anyway.

Thoughts? Share ’em below.

Tags: ,


Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial