April's Honest Parent: Carrie Kaufman
My great parenting strength: Listening. I treat my kids like people who have a lot to learn, not children who should not be heard.
My greatest parenting weakness: I give in too much. I wish I was a little more strict and disciplined.
When it comes to parenting, I would rather not admit: I do tell them to shut up sometimes.
What have you learned about yourself specifically because you became a parent?
Oddly, being a mom made me feel more feminine.
How often do you compare yourself to what you think other parents are doing--or what you "should" be doing?
Describe your worst moment as a parent.
After the split, I was heartbroken and couldn't stop crying. I cried in front of the girls. They were only four and they didn't understand.
Is there one thing you give yourself a pass on?
Cleaning my house. I'm a single mom.
How has having kid/s affected your sex life?
That's a complicated one, since for me sex involves dating and dating involves time coordination. I don't bring someone home unless I'm serious, so that involves even more coordination. Would I have a girlfriend if I didn't have kids? Perhaps. But I wouldn't be happy with a woman who doesn't like kids, whether I had them or not.
How have you grown as a person since becoming a parent?
I've become more patient and a better planner.
If someone gave you a letter grade for your current parenting, what would it be?
I just asked my mother and she said A+.
What quality in yourself do you fear is most likely to lead to failure as a parent?
My lack of regularity and discipline. I'm very loosey-goosey. I've been trying to teach one of my daughters to play guitar off and on for over a year, and we can't seem to get a regular time. Unless I have a deadline, I'm toast. (By the way, I don't think this will lead to failure. That's pretty drastic. I just fear it will lead to my kids not having the discipline when they grow up.)
If you could do it over again what would you do differently?
The girls and I were talking about this the other night. I had kids when I was older. They were teasing me about being an old mom. But I explained to them that if I had had kids when I was younger, then I likely wouldn't have had them. I would have popped different eggs - and maybe not two at once. I would likely have had a different donor. There's nothing I would do differently. Life is life. You choose your path and enjoy the journey.
Based on what you see in your child right now, what is your worst fear about him/her as an adult?
Again, I'm not sure about the word "fear." Delaney has always had things come easy, so when things get hard, she tends to quit. That is the issue I'm working on most with her - the value and ecstasy of hard work. Dixon is the twin who had to work to keep up with her sister. But she doesn't have a passion. Her sister is obsessed with reading and writing and fantasy. Dixon dabbles. I want her to find her passion.
What would you have done last year if you didn’t have children?
I would have been rather lonely not having these cool people to have fascinating conversations with.
How do you think you're doing in comparison to your parents?
Better. I'm older than they were when they had me. And I'm wiser.
What’s your most brutally honest parenting advice?
Motherhood does not equal martyrdom. Get over it. Stop sacrificing. They will not care. Live your life. Follow the dreams you can follow. Your children will see that and know that they should follow their dreams, too.
Would you want to be raised by you?
Yes. I'm a damn good mom. :)
Carrie Kaufman is a single mother of 10-year-old twins. She was the founder and publisher of PeformInk, Chicago's theatre industry newspaper, which was considered the bible of Chicago theatre for 20 years. She is currently working in the non-profit theatre world and writes two blogs: TheGayMom.com and KaufmanOnAmerica.com. Her daughters turned 10 in December.
Want to be our next honest parent? Message Our Town on Facebook.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez and Facebook.