As a parent of an almost 3 year old, I have been inundated with information, advice, and media about how to parent since well before my child was born. We live in a time of obsession about parenting correctness – how to do it right, how to do it well, how to do it best.
But I got to thinking recently about how I could google anything about parenting and get a million answers to choose from, but I can’t find any information out there on how to have parents. Yes, you heard that right – no one is talking about what it’s like to have parents. To have parents – the most common of all denominators! – and no one seems to be talking about it.
I, for one, am very curious about parents. I have a nonexistent relationship with my dad, a feeble relationship with my mother, and haven’t had an actual conversation with my step-father since I was 19. I am chronically desperate for insight on exactly how to be an adult person with parents. I just can’t be the only one out there. I had lunch with fellow blogger Mary Beth once just to talk about this topic because when I found out we had a few things in common, it was like I’d been given a bucket of water after years of living in the desert.
My brother in law, Rob, produces a beautiful podcast called Anxious Machine about humans struggling with all the things that humans make. In the next season, the podcast focus will expand to be more about modern humans, the things we do, the things we invent, the things we believe, and how we got here. I’m going to join him in interviewing, reporting, and co-hosting a few episodes. To the table I plan on bringing up: What is it like to have parents? What is it like to be an adult and look back on how you were parented? How are you you because of your parents? I hope people will have a lot to say that isn’t currently being said.
One theory about why modern parents are inundated with information about parenting is that there’s a demand – we’re so anxious because we are so isolated. We aren’t parenting in community any longer, many of us don’t live where we grew up, we aren’t being reassured by elders on how to do the day-to-day tasks of parenting, and we haven’t seen our older family members do it before us. We know there’s information out there, but we don’t know which is the correct information. It’s a trend of anxiety – information – more anxiety – more information – rinse and repeat.
But I, personally, am more lacking now in information about the disconnect I have with my parents. If having a child naturally causes you to reflect on your own relationship with your parents, why aren’t more people talking about that as well? Isn’t there a demand for this kind of conversation, too? I want to learn from others what their parents are like – along the whole continuum of wonderful to terrible – and how they are experienced by being an adult. I want to hear those voices that aren’t being heard right now.
Here’s the pitch: I want your stories and would love to interview you. The only thing that you need to qualify is if you can answer yes to the question: “do you have parents?” So, drop us a line at anxiousmail at gmail dot com or fill out the podcast’s online contact form if this request speaks to you. We’ll make it easy and hopefully fun for you to let all sorts of other people know what it’s like to have parents.