I Fall Short As a Parent In Many Ways, But You Know What I’m Awesome At?

Published by The Connected Reader on

I’ve been thinking a lot about my parenting lately. 

All the ways I fall short. All the times I yell. My lack of patience. My need for quiet time to fill my cup that never seems to get fully met. How if one more person needs me to get them something or help them when I am trying to get something else done, I might actually combust.

Eight years and three kids later – am I really cut out for this? I think I will be a great big kid parent – can I fast forward to that?

And then I say, f*** that. I will always be falling short as a parent in some way. That’s life. 

I’m going to flip the narrative in my head. 

You know what I’m awesome at as a parent? I’m awesome at cultivating a home for little readers.

It’s been cold in Houston. Consistently in the 40s and 50s and rainy for a week. Not our usual weather.

After dinner the other night, Big E, my seven-year-old, went to the couch with a book, burying herself under a big cozy blanket. She had just picked out this book at the school library that day.

Little E and J, my three-year-old twins, were playing magnatiles. My husband was hanging out in the room reading the news on the iPad. I spent 10 minutes picking up clutter – there is no end to the clutter – and then I grabbed my book and joined Big E on the couch. 

I looked over at Big E, completely entranced in her book. I saw myself 30 years ago. I thought about how when she was born, I dreamed of the day when we would both be snuggled on the couch with a book. And that day was here.

It was a long game. 

It was board books – so many board books. 

It was letting her pull all of the books off the shelves a million times so she felt like the books and our library room were a safe place, not something off limits.

It was trips to the library and the agency to choose whatever she wanted even if it was these awful Disney character books that made me want to poke my eye out. 

It was introducing the Circle Round podcast, and listening to the same episodes over and over and over again – still. 

It was that first read aloud book – Charlotte’s Web – four years ago that I didn’t think she was even engaged in, but she still talks about today. 

It was books as gifts on holidays, always. 

It was researching every possible early reader chapter book with a girl interested in science as the main character so she could see herself on the page.

It was Pete the Cat and Pinkalicious phonics books. 

It was supporting virtual kindergarten and accepting help from family to provide additional reading instruction based on science

It was bringing home bags full of library books, for independent reading, that she rejected. 

It was letting her be when she could read on her own but didn’t want to.

It was helping her find that first series that sparked. (Owl Diaries will forever hold a place in my heart.)

It was letting her explore her interest in graphic novels even though that is a genre I do not usually enjoy and am not knowledgeable about. (I am now more knowledgeable and y’all – they are redoing the Babysitter’s Club and Little Sister books as graphic novels and Big E LOVES them.)

It was hearing her talk about the new book clubs her teacher introduced and how one of the books was Wonder, but that’s not the one her group was assigned. It was casually mentioning that I’ve read that book and it’s on our shelf at home. It was her, knowing the book is light blue, going to the blue section of our shelves (yes, I rainbowed our shelves), finding the book, sitting down and starting to read it on her own. It was me HAPPY DANCING ON THE INSIDE BECAUSE THIS CHILD PICKED UP A BOOK WITH NO PICTURES AND IS READING IT ON HER OWN but I’m cool, nothing to see here on the outside.

There are many ways I fall short as a parent, but you know what I’m awesome at? 

I’m awesome at cultivating a home for little readers.

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1 Comment

Elizabeth · February 7, 2023 at 2:48 am

Loved this! You are an amazing parent in so many ways and I agree, you are especially amazing at creating readers. Thank you for sharing these sweet memories and ways to support little readers!

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