1 par·ent noun \ˈper-ənt\
: a person who is a father or mother : a person who has a child
2 parent verb: to be or act as a parent
Parent is a noun. It is my role, my identity. It is [part of] who I am. I am a parent.
I am a good parent.
I know this in my bones, to the core of me. I know that I am the parent my kids need, even when I feel like I don't deserve to have kids as great as they are. I know that I love them, and they love me. I know that I am where I belong and that they belong with me. I know that I am good at being the person who is their parent.
Parent is a verb. To parent. I am parenting my children. It's what I do all day, every day.
I'm not always especially good at that part.
Parenting is a set of skills, and they aren't skills that come naturally to everyone. I wonder if they come naturally to anyone. I wonder where we get the idea that these things are supposed to be easy, that without any training or practice we're supposed to know how to educate, socialize, discipline, clean, dress, feed, and converse with these small people who come suddenly into our lives and insist on changing constantly forever.
It's hard. Parenting is hard. I don't have all the skills. I don't know how to do all these things.
I'm not used to not knowing how to do things.
Sometimes, I get the two confused. I think that because I am not always good at parenting that I am not a good parent. I think that my actions define my identity.
I feel ashamed. I shut off. I don't like not being good at things.
But if parenting is a set of skills, then acquiring those skills is part of the job. On the job training. Learning. Growing. Changing. I want to keep reading, I want to keep listening, I want to figure out how to parent better.
Because I think that's what makes someone a good parent.