Today's parenting interview comes courtesy Megan over at Boho Mama. Megan has two beautiful twin girls, Ruth and Afton -- I love her posts about her girls and her own struggles and triumphs throughout their first year, but I also think she's just a fantastic writer in general (check out these posts to see what I mean). Read on to learn a little more about Megan's parenting style:
How old were your parents when you were born? How old were you when you had your first child? Was your decision about when to have kids affected in any way by your parents' choices?
My parents were married very young - 19 and 23 - and my mom was 21 when she gave birth to me. I loved growing up with young parents, and wanted be a young mom myself. I was in a serious relationship in my late teens and thought we were going to get married and have babies right away...but the relationship ended, and after I met my husband, we waited four years before deciding it was time to expand our family. We took advantage of our freedom as young marrieds - freedom that my parents did not get to experience. We moved to the big city, finished our degrees, worked fulfilling jobs, and traveled the world. I was 26 when the time felt right, and less than one year later I gave birth to twin girls.
What are your plans (if any) about the number of children you hope to have? Is your decision about how many children you'll have affected in any way by your parents' choices?
After my sister came along, I wanted at least three kids. There is a fullness with three that is so enjoyable, and I hear my mom's voice in my head saying, "if you have three, might as well have four!" She always regretted not having a fourth so my sister would have a buddy. It makes sense to me, but I haven't convinced my husband just yet. I don't want to say that finances are an issue. That reason bums me out!
How does the place where you grew up impact your own decision-making about where to raise your family?
We are a West Coast family: Idaho, California, Arizona, and for most of my life, Oregon. I love the Pacific Northwest corner of the U.S. and it will always be home. I want my kids to experience the cold ocean, the dense forests, the rushing rivers, the snow-covered mountains, and the high desert. Our big cities aren't too big and our people are relaxed, friendly, and adventurous. We're also quasi-hippies. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather live, so with that in mind, I want to raise my kids here, too.
How does your role as a disciplinarian reflect on your own upbringing?
One practice I like is using the term "instruction" as opposed to "discipline". What I do know is that I want my children to learn how to take responsibility for their own actions, be confident in their decisions (whether good or bad) and I want our home to be a place where emotions can be expressed in a healthy way, without shame or undue guilt. I think my desire for this stems from feeling scared of my own questions and feelings as a child, and I don't want my own kids to have that same experience. If they don't find validation or reassurance in the home, they'll go find it elsewhere. I don't want that to happen.
Do you have any memories from your childhood of moments when you thought "I'll never be like this as a parent" or "I hope to be just like my mom because..."?
I love my mom. She is my best friend. There are some moments when I say, "that was SO my mom!" and laugh, because it was something silly or forgetful. Then, I call her and tell her about it, and we laugh together. But in the deeper ways, she has inspired me by the sacrifices she has made for her family and the way she has still remained true to herself. She is a strong, independent woman and I can say that I do hope to be like her. And my dad...he and I have a special bond. We also have a running family joke about Lord Byron (dad) vs. Chuck Norris.
It's hard to know if I'm acting like my own parents, because I am only eight months into being a mom. I do know that some of the ways we plan on parenting are contrary to the ways we both were raised, and while our parents respect our decisions and give us room to figure it out, there isn't always common ground. They don't second guess our decisions and they don't give advice without being asked, and that has meant a lot to me as a first-time mom trying to make sense of it all. Their respect gives me a great sense of peace.
How has becoming a parent changed your relationship with your own parents?
I am thankful every single day that I grew up in a loving and safe environment. So many people have not had that luxury. My parents, despite their mistakes and their flawed human-ness, worked hard to model healthy relationships for us. Parenting is tough, and their dedication to their relationship and to our health as a family unit is something that I recognize and respect them for doing. They've already set me up for success as a parent, and I pray I can do the same for my children.
Thanks, Megan! Stop by Boho Mama to read more about her twins and her life in Portland. Coming up tomorrow: Suzi!