Ad-Libbed Parenting

Ad-Libbed Parenting


shutterstock_17070334Two memories of my early parenting:

First, my older son was about 2, and learning the word “no” (plus the attitude that accompanies it). I found myself repeating my mother’s seemingly magic words — “if you don’t do as I say by the time I count to three. …” One day I called my mom and asked, “What do I do when I get to three?” She didn’t know. She  never had to count that high, because I always listened.

Second, both boys were toddlers, and my husband was out of town. We three went off to the diner for dinner and drove home just after dark. I unhooked them from their car seats and walked toward our front door, porch lights lit against the dusk. As I put my key in the lock I felt like I was playing house, waiting for a real grown-up to appear and take charge because I couldn’t possibly own this house and be responsible for these children.

The novelist Chris Bohjalian, captures this feeling in “What Would I Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On and Letting Go of Their Daughters.” (I wrote about another essay in the book, by Robert Dugoni, earlier today.) Do other parents feel like imposters, he wonders, certain that the older generation actually knew what they were doing? He and his wife certainly do. READ MORE