December's Honest Parent: Amy de la Fuente
My great parenting strength is: I invent then sing ridiculous songs to try to get my kids to do things such as put their lunch boxes away or start their homework.
My greatest parenting weakness is: my poor time management skills.
What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
Oh, so many things but one would be that it is a lot of trial and error - kind of like a mad scientist experiment at times.
How often do you compare yourself to what you think other parents are doing--or what you "should" be doing?
Less and less as my children get older. I think it’s because I have become more confident in my parenting and my husband and I have made certain choices about what is best for our unique family.
Describe your worst moment as a parent.
We were living in a condo downtown and in the process of trying to sell it. I put my kids in the hallway and then locked the door for 5 minutes because I was so frustrated with them not cooperating while I was trying to clean up our place for a showing. They cried and begged to be let in. I couldn’t do it until I had calmed down, but the entire time I was thinking - this is not good. I need to figure out a better solution to this chaos.
Is there one thing you give yourself a pass on?
Making my kids call their friend’s parents Mr. and Mrs. so and so.
How many hours out of each day do you feel like you’re being a good parent?
More or less about 20. Some days are better. But each day I try to start with a clean slate.
How has having kid/s affected your sex life?
It changed it, but just like other couples other things have caused changes to it before and after having kids, such as work, travel, and obligations, illness, health, etc. As my children have gone through different stages, so has our sex life. It was nice when my child took 4 hour naps. I think overall, we have been forced to discuss it more and sometimes even schedule time for it.
How have you grown as a person since becoming a parent? I think I have learned to listen to that voice inside myself more. I have also had to confront some of my negative qualities and really look at how they were impacting my life.
If someone gave you a letter grade for your current parenting, what would it be?
Maybe a B+. Of course it’s all subjective based on who you talk to. My parenting decisions have not always been well received by everyone.
What quality in yourself do you fear is most likely to lead to failure as a parent?
Letting little things stress me out.
If you could do it over again what would you do differently?
I think I would have found an outlet unrelated to my children earlier on. I started playing guitar 3 years ago and have found it to be a wonderful way to express myself and take a break from the parenting wheel. I have made many new friends who are not associated with my children or their school and it has helped me remember that first I am a person named Amy.
Based on what you see in your child right now, what is your worst fear about him/her as an adult?
Lately I have been trying to look at it from the perspective of, I hope this trait serves you well when you are an adult. One of my kids can give undivided attention to books or lego designs. Maybe that intense interest will be an asset when he is older. I can only hope, right?
What would you have done last year if you didn’t have children?
I probably would have still been teaching. Also I would have spent more time with friends and enjoyed more live music.
How do you think you're doing in comparison to your parents?
Again, that’s subjective because I am in very different circumstances than my parents were in while raising me. Overall, I think a bit better.
What’s your most brutally honest parenting advice?
Your job as a parent is to raise your child to become a contributing member of society. They can’t do that if they are bubblewrapped. Let your child fail and give them opportunities to be independent at all ages. If your child has unusual circumstances (mine have asthma, allergies and different learning requirements) then learn all you can about that topic so you can advocate for your child and eventually teach your child how to advocate for themselves. Read to them.
Would you want to be raised by you?
I think so. Who wouldn’t want their mom to make up dorky songs about everything?
Amy de la Fuente is a former teacher and math coach who is currenting blogging and working on a short story collection while trying to figure out the next stage in her life. She has been married for 16 years and has an 11 year old son and a 9 year old daughter.
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.
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