Home (Collab Post)

After graduating post-secondary school, I went to a job interview where counseling was a huge component of the job description. It was an interview set-up that I had never experienced before. I found myself sitting in a nicely decorated, chic living room with 3 other women discussing life goals, regrets, mistakes, etc. To be honest it felt more like a therapy session than a job interview, but I didn’t mind it at all. The last question the panelist had for me was: when you have children, what is one thing you would want them to know? I was a single girl in my early 20s then, so my husband and daughter were not even anywhere in the picture yet. The question threw me off guard at first but without skipping a beat and having never considered this question before, I answered, “I would want them to know that they can always come home.”

Growing up I never really felt like I had a safety net; no parachute to lessen the velocity of my nosedives. My airbag was myself. I never really felt protected- at least not in the way most children are supposed to. When you grow up knowing your own strength is basically all you will ever have (this is up to me, if I don’t get this right then I have nothing), it’s pretty powerful and makes life a lot more real.

My sisters and I were born and raised in Canada after my parents emigrated here. Throughout my entire childhood, my parent’s English skills were always new or developing. Because of this, my sisters and I were always the ones (as children) constantly helping them translate and communicate with various customer service representatives or navigate different government agencies. At the time, we obviously didn’t think much of it but now I can reflect on how children of that age shouldn’t have to worry about explaining to a customer service rep why their parents are unable to pay this bill or that invoice. Children shouldn’t have to be aware of how close their family is from not being able to put food on the table by filling out government assistance applications on behalf of their parents.

And so, even before I became a mother, I always knew in my heart what I wanted for my child.

I want to be that safety net for her; just enough for her to have the courage to step out and try things on her own knowing she always has us to lean on.
I want her to feel secure; she has the right to be the child and us, the adults. 
I want her to be able to live freely and discover the world through her innocent eyes. 

I want her to know that if she makes a mistake, we will be there no matter what. 
I want her to feel like she doesn’t have anything to worry about. She just has to focus on being happy every day because as long as she’s happy, her father and I will be happy.

I don’t believe my job as a parent is to save her from every conflict and solve every problem. She ultimately needs to grow to be self-sufficient, aware, adaptable, confident, empathetic, and strong-willed. And hopefully through her own unique journey, she will grasp how important it is to be positive, offer kindness and have perspective.

After I moved out of my parent’s house (I was technically the last of my sisters to move out), I knew I’d never want to go back. It wasn’t because I didn’t love my parents, I just could no longer live with them. And there was never really anything there for me to begin with, therefore the thought of returning was never even a possibility in my mind. To me, a house doesn’t make a home; it’s who you can feel safe with, rely on and find happiness with that make a home.

What is one thing you would want your daughter to know?
That she can always come home.

This post was done in collaboration with Pete Springer. Pete and I wanted to collaborate on a post about parenting- we have that in common. We decided that he would write about his dreams for his son and I would write about my dreams for my daughter. Pete is a lifelong educator who taught elementary school for 31 years in grades 2-6. After he retired, he wanted to give something back to a profession that had been so good to him. He wrote a book entitled They Call Me Mom, a joke he says every elementary teacher will understand. It is a combination memoir/advice book for inexperienced and future teachers. His new dream is to write novels for the age he knows best—middle grades. His debut children’s novel, Second Chance Summer, has just been edited, and he anticipates beginning the querying process in the next few weeks. Pete has a wonderfully insightful and engaging blog where he writes about education, children, role models and parenting/discipline. When you have a moment, please be sure to check out his page!

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54 thoughts on “Home (Collab Post)

  1. Pingback: What I Want for My Son (Collaborative Post) – Pete Springer

  2. Love this post for so many reasons! Yes to male energy, I probably need to do more of that too. I’m thinking after my next women answer article comes out, I’ll do a Men Answer?!?! Also about your article, we have different childhood circumstances but some of the same results. I can 💯 relate to feeling like I was the parent for my parent. And that can be so scary when we’re young because we’re so aware of how little we are. There was always this part of me that knew I was in over my head, but what could I do? Oy, healing ❤️‍🩹 As for my someday daughter. First, at 41 years young I pray I’ll be lucky enough to have that one day in the near future. And I would want her to know that no matter how she feels, what she wants, and who she is, it’s ok and good to express it without shame or apologies.💖 Thanks for this article 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Got here via Pete’s blog post…am now following even though I admit I am like Pete in that I rarely add another blog to my list of those followed…and yet here I am!
    And…I relate to your desire for your kiddo to know she can always come home. I benefited from that attitude as a young adult with my own parents (though, I was fiercely independant so didn’t abuse the ‘offers’!!) and our kiddos know we offer the same to them.
    All the best
    peace

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A wish that covers just about everything. Children do need to leave home and become independent, but anything can happen to anyone and it is hard for those without family to have no one to borrow money from in a crisis or come and stay with new baby when husband away. Things have turned upside down in the past few years for many of us and I would never have imagined being widowed and having cancer, but being able to offer a home and moral support to my 36 year old and his fiancée as they look for a place of their own to buy. They have been a great help to me and just today have found out their boss’s business has been liquidated, a long term casualty of Covid! Luckily my other son and daughter are secure!

    Liked by 4 people

    • How great that you have been able to offer this to your son and daughter-in-law, Janet. I’m sure they are appreciative of it and feel good about offering their moral support. Life was hard enough before Covid. It always makes me feel good when I see your posts.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your perspective, Janet! You’ve obviously lived through quite a bit of hard times the last few years but it’s nice to see you are still able to be there for your daughter and support them any way you can (and in turn, getting their support back). Things have been challenging but meeting a diverse group of people in the blogosphere has really helped me appreciate what I have and never want to take it for granted! Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Your journey is so inspiring, BB. Your philosophy should be in a parent manual. I have a friend who teaches parenting classes, and that is where my mind first went when reading your outstanding post. Bossy Babe could be teaching parenting classes. One of the ironies of those classes is the parents who already know how to parent are the ones who usually sign up for the classes.

    We agree 100% that parents who try to rescue their child at the first hint of problems aren’t helping their kids. Life is about resiliency and learning to overcome the obstacles that all of us have to overcome. Your daughter is fortunate to live in a home with parents who understand that love and discipline are essential elements in any child’s development.

    Thanks for agreeing to collaborate with me and for tolerating my old ways. My wife and I are those people who still make shopping lists, get paper airline tickets, and carry a lot of cash. Oh, you’re like that? 😂

    I look forward to reading about your further adventures with your daughter that are always filled with humor and wisdom. You’re close to the preschool age now. As a former preschool teacher and then director, my wife is the expert with that age level if you ever have any questions about that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Pete, you are toooo kind! I always, always appreciate hearing your wise and wholesome perspective on all things marriage and parenting! I think just like the struggles we overcame as children and learned to appreciate as adults, parenting is the exact same- someday (and it’s already happening) I will look back on the long, wakeful nights and remember them fondly as I held my baby in the crook of my arm knowing she was everything my husband and I had ever dreamed of.

      It’s been so wonderful getting to know you and seeing your life through your posts. I, too, always look forward to your insightful posts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow what a powerful post! I love that… they can always come home. That’s really what I want for my kids too. To know that even if I don’t have the answers, my arms will always be open to give them a hug, my hands will always prepare a meal for them and my love will always give them shelter. We aren’t meant to raise robots, but we do need to give them the safe space they can always come back to.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I was one of those kids who had to come home because I wasn’t cutting it financially at the time. I know that not everyone has that luxury. Your thoughts remind me of my first priority as a teacher—to make sure my students felt loved, cared for, and safe. How can we expect them to learn if their basic needs are not met?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pete, it warms my heart to know you (as an educator) thought of your students as individuals and cared enough for their wellbeing at home to have that even be part of your daily thought process- to make sure your students were loved, cared for and safe. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment Shelly! Agreed- just because we want to raise independent, confident, self-sufficient adults, doesn’t mean we can’t offer all the love and affection in the world! 🙂 I hope my daughter can see the difference when she grows up! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a great answer to an unexpected question! That’s quite remarkable that you had so much responsibility as a kid, but I think that experience will have a positive impact on your family and children. It’s very healthy for children to have independence but also the security knowing that they have a soft place to fall when needed. Great post!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks so much Pepper! I appreciate your perspective and glad we agree! I want my daughter to understand that the life she lives didn’t come easy, that it is so full of abundance and she’s one of the lucky ones. I never want her to take any of it for granted.

      Like

  8. a beautiful post and wonderful collaboration, Jen. And I’d agree that giving your child the knowledge that she is free to come home at any time is a wonderful gift. And as you say, a home is so much more than a house…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I came here from Pete’s site, BB. Nice to meet you. And a lovely post. I think it’s wonderful to know that parents would welcome you home if you ever needed them or wanted to. It fosters courage to take risks and follow dreams. Great answer. I hope you got the job. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: The week gone by — Aug. 29 – A Silly Place

  11. Nice to meet you, Jen! You know by now how you came highly recommended by Pete. I greatly admire and respect Pete, and I was curious to visit your site.

    Wow, a fascinating question on an initial interview. My initial reaction to the question and your answer is how wisdom is not defined by age. The young children in my life are often wiser than many adults I know. Their words often come from a deeper, unfiltered intelligence.

    Brimming with tears, reading more of your post. A thought – provoking sentence “That she can always come home” is also multi-layered as you describe well in your post. Possibly, the definition of coming home. We want them to feel they can make it on their own, stand on their own two feet, yet we are a safe haven where they always feel loved and accepted.

    I know I will be mulling on this post for a long time. I have subscribed to your site and I look forward to learning more about you. Erica

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Erica… 😱😭 This is arguably one of the best comments I’ve ever received (you rival Pete for best comments now)! 😁

      I’m so touched by your kind words.. Words that you didn’t have to leave here or express but you did and it’s made my day….. I appreciate you stopping by, reading, commenting, following and I appreciate your open heart. It’s great accumulating new followers but at the same time I worry about disappointing people (silly, silly I know)! 🙏🙌❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Jen, As Pete also mentioned in one of his comments, this post obviously hit a nerve for many people. Relatable and thought-provoking. You also make me think about some of the things I wish I would have known as a young parent. And, many of things I am still learning. I am in the ‘peanut gallery’ albeit on the positive side, yet you obviously have the ‘it’ quality when it comes to writing.💕 I always have to muster courage when I write and before I hit the “publish” button. As you can see, this is a very supportive, kind community. I am glad we met. 🙏😀

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Your perspective is vibrant and heartfelt. Part of me feels strong and proud of you. Another part of me feels sad for your parents. I remember hitting fifty-something and realizing I was in the middle; one arm was my children and the future, and the other arm was my parents and grandparents. I needed to understand both arms. In that way I could better understand myself and also my family. I asked questions (LOTS of questions), learned, and felt ashamed for not doing so before. Then, I began to tell stories to my children. You can’t imagine all the stories I tell, from history to ‘moments’.
    I came home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jennie! I appreciate your perspective. I came to the same conclusion after many hours of therapy- no matter how we were raised, I believe it was always in the best of intentions with the most amount of information and access they had at the time (which wasn’t much). I am grateful for my upbringing and can regret nothing because I wouldn’t be who I am 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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