Nicole Davies

Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a Marine spouse and mother of three daughters, ages 16, 10, and 7. I have been a stay-at-home mom most of their lives while also pursuing my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In the past I have worked as a social worker for child welfare in the state of Pennsylvania. I have also taught preschool for ages 2.5 - 4. During my master’s program I interned as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital working with adults, teens, and kids. My ultimate goal is to become an independently licensed therapist. Our family has lived in Onslow County for 10 of the last 15 years, which has given my children a stability that is rare among military families. While NC has been my home for several years now, I am still a Yankee at heart! I will always choose a Philly cheesesteak over a pulled-pork sandwich. In addition to taking care of my family and my educational pursuits, I enjoy traveling to destinations near and far; a novel in which I can get lost; and chatting with friends over a good cup of coffee.

mj-vieweg

The Question We All Ask (Part 1)

Could there ever be an award for good parenting?

Isn’t it funny that there is no such thing as a good parenting award? That you can’t get an insurance discount for being a good parent like you can for being a good driver? Or get a street named after you in your town like those people who did something to better the community? Isn’t being a good parent a community service?

I wonder if that is because there is no clear definition of what it means to be a good parent. I think the concept of a good parent is relatively new. A generation or so ago, I don’t think parents judged themselves or each other as much. They had babies; then fed, clothed and sheltered them. Parents taught their kids to look both ways when crossing the street and made them eat their vegetables and drink their milk. That was pretty much it. It seems everyone did it the same way back then.

We have labels for parents now like: stay-at-home dad, soccer mom, and working mom. I saw an advertisement for business cards for mothers. The mother’s name was emblazoned on the card as was her position; “Jacob and Nicole’s Mom”. Contact information was displayed prominently. Parenthood has become a profession. Ok, so now we have the labels, the business cards, perhaps the official “Good Parent” competitions are not far behind. We all know they happen informally in neighborhoods and at PTOs.

So, what defines a good parent these days? The right accessories: say, a spouse, a house and a minivan? What is provided for children: private schools starting with preschool and ending with a fully-funded college education? Having your children labeled as “good kids”? The depths of your personal sacrifice? Because someone tells you that you are one? How do they know?

I’ve been asking myself what defines a good parent all week and I haven’t come up with an answer that seems to be the right one. Maybe if there were some kind of award, we could consider the requirements and see how we measure up.  Because the question we all ask ourselves, now and then, is “Am I a good parent?”

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7 Comments on “The Question We All Ask (Part 1)”

  • bill mercer November 9th, 2011 5:02 am

    You know if you are or not.

  • Mj Vieweg November 9th, 2011 7:19 am

    Maybe some of us are more confident in our parenting abilities, Bill. But I also think some of us do ask ourselves that question.

  • Karen November 9th, 2011 8:43 pm

    Maybe I’m at least a good ENOUGH mom?

    Ever since the girls were little, when I’d make a parenting mistake or do something that accidentally hurt them (I can’t count the number of times I accidentally knocked their heads into the car as I put them in car seats!) or what have you, I’d say, “There goes Mother of the Year!” I lost that title at least once a day.

    I always tell my girls I’m the best mom they have.

    Every day I intend to do a good job. Some days I do better than others. I get the impression you’re a good mom, MJ. But I understand the questioning. I do it, too.

  • Paula Patselas November 9th, 2011 10:00 pm

    As I have stated before in some blogs, parenting is BY FAR, the very hardest work I have ever done in my life (and to repeat, I was raised working on a tobacco farm!!); and in spite of the massive wealth of parenting books etc… I have never read anything that really relates to or dictates what and how to be a good parent, because to a large degree, I think everyone’s household and their kids have very unique features and no one textbook recipe works across the board. For us, we just dove in and started doing it, of course, making mistakes along the way and we still do. But I have to believe that we have done more good than bad in raising out three kids and my husband says all the time (especially when I fret!!), that we have to keep doing what we are doing. We have both devoted every once of energy we have to the three kids over the last almost 18 years, and things are not picture perfect, but we are pretty darn proud of them and ourselves. Would we do some things differently if we could go back a few years? YES, but we CAN”T go back, and so the answer is moving forward, always forward and continuing to keep the kids at the heart of everything we think and do. We have always been and will always be right here for all of them and I think that means we are good parents.

  • Mj Vieweg November 10th, 2011 7:11 am

    Karenand Paula, thanks for weighing in..isn’t funny we still can’t get a definition or at least a top ten traits of a good parent, but we do all recognize circumstances come into play.

    I guess that is why I shared my “pondering” on this blog.

    And I think it is really something that moms do, but that is probably because women tend to judge themselves harshly.

    I think we are good enough parents. I think it is interesting we all know it when we see it but can’t easily define it. Thanks again for sharing your thoughtful insights.

  • The Question We All Ask (Part 2) | RealiTeen November 10th, 2011 3:32 pm

    [...] I’ve been brainstorming what it is to be a good parent. Read my thought starters in my first post. [...]

  • No Blueprint | RealiTeen November 16th, 2011 3:31 pm

    [...] MJ Vieweg, my Realiteen colleague, has written a couple of articles of late that ask what defines a good parent. I responded to MJ with “I think of my mother”. I am quite sure many of you feel the same way. In reality, how do we “define” a good parent? There are so many ways to consider. In my case, I was fortunate to have someone to literally sacrifice all she could for her family. I experienced so many life lessons observing my mother’s treatment of her family throughout our lives that words fail me completely. Suffice it to say that if I could choose a “blueprint” to go by as a parent, she would be the architect. There is simply something so deep about her, so pure; she carries these traits with total ease. I shudder to think of me, without her. She’s a keeper. [...]

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