In her book, Dragon Mom: Confessions of a Child Development Expert, Janet Gonzalez-Mena addresses her challenge of being a child development expert and a real parent, about the gap between what society expects from the perfect parent and what can happen in the real world. In the book she talks about the first emergence of Janet, the Dragon Mom:
"I was new to my parenting career. The dragon was unknown to me. So far, parenting had been entirely positive. I felt nothing but love in my heart for this precious new child of mine. I certainly didn't feel anger, I remember thinking this was the happiest time in my life.
"You can imagine how surprised I felt to find myself in the living room of our small apartment screaming, "Shut up!" in the direction of the bedroom where my baby was crying. I swear those words just came out of my mouth on their own.
"I had been a 'good mother' up until then — all three weeks of his life. My baby had responded by behaving like a 'good baby.' But not this time. I had done everything right. I had changed, fed, burped, rocked, and cuddled him. He just wouldn't stop crying.
"That moment of frustration brought ugly, unmotherly words out of my mouth. When I heard them, I was nearly crushed by the overpowering weight of tons of guilt crashing down on me....
"I don't remember what happened next, but I'm willing to bet that I went right in and smothered that poor baby in marshmallow ooze. I don't know if my sugary glop stopped the crying or not, but I probably felt better. That was the real beginning of my parenting career."
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I am so glad that Janet Gonzales Mena is doing this. There are so many of us who look up to her. I think that it is important for us to know there is no perfect parent & that there are learning/turning points that occur. I am in awe of the humbleness that it takes to do this. I applaud her! Thank you! I miss her & hope to see her again in the near future.
Yes, parents are encouraged to parent sometimes as though their child is a "product" to be honed to perfection. Really it is about developing a life long relationship with a little person who will live with you for the first 18 or so years. Discover what works for your family, and follow your best instincts what to do.
Thank you SO much for your honesty! It's frustrating when the only stories shared are the "good" stories and not the "tough" stories. We can support each other so much better when we're honest and are able to admit our struggles. Afterall, we're only human!
I love, love, love the book "Dragon Mom." As an early childhood professional and new parent, it was nice to read another professional's parenting "confessions." Where some parenting books have induced feelings of guilt in me over my parenting short comings, the advice within "Dragon Mom" is given in a way that feels truly supportive. I have recommended this book a lot since reading it over the summer.
That is one Dragon that will never become extinct!