True Parent 8

Just the Nanny

A Longtime Nanny Reflects on Parenting, Motherhood, and Secrets Kept

Dad Can Do It

Braiding Hair 101

Together We Can

Black Parent Initiative Helps African American Parents Embrace Identity

The Temporary Parent

A Foster Mom Explains Her Insight Into Troubled Teenage Boys

Build a Better Parent

What Can American Families Learn from Japanese Free-Range Parenting?

Ask the Parent!

“Can I Send My Kid to College?”

Parent to Parent

“The Breakdown”

Scrotal Recall

Or, I’m a coward and my vasecomy wasn’t all that bad

If True Parent had its own Goodyear Blimp, written across the side would be, “THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARENTS, GUYS!” It’s true. Some people assume there’s only one kind of parent—those who stroll blissfully down the street pushing a doublewide stroller, sipping Stumptown, and beaming gloriously at the adorable progeny who sprang from their loins—even though that’s really not the case.

Here at True Parent, we’re interested in those who don’t fit the mold: single moms and dads, gay and lesbian parents, mixed race parents, and trans parents. But there are also people who aren’t “officially” parents, yet still parent the hell out of their particular situation—like grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents (see pg. 13), and nannies (see pg. 16).

Regardless of who’s doing the parenting, one of the commonalities we all share is what I call “the breakdown,” and it’s the hardest thing to explain to non-parents. For me, it went down like this: Before having kids, I had what some cultures refer to as “a life.” I had hobbies, like spending hours on the internet searching for the perfect softball bat, or a particular issue of a 1950s vintage men’s magazine. I played video- games, tinkered on motorcycles, and wrote a zine about Hollywood actor Lee Marvin. (I actually did this!)

But then I had A CHILD—and every single pursuit (other than changing diapers, feeding, and worrying about accidental electrocution) went out the window. Sure, after the kid went to sleep I found time to guzzle a cocktail and sob quietly into my hands, but otherwise? Forget about it. The toys of my youth had been permanently put away and replaced with something that required 100 percent of my focus.

And surprise! After a few years of pining for my supposedly “lost youth,” I began to realize what I’d gained. My head was no longer solidly wedged inside my ass, for one thing. Because I had finally learned to care for someone other than myself.

And that’s “the breakdown.” Like how boot camp tears away the façade of your old self, and constructs a new (hopefully superior) version. You’re still you... just a new you. And that’s something all parents share, or will eventually discover.

So when you’re walking down the street and you see another parent (or grandparent, foster mom, nanny), give them your best “nod of knowingness.” Trust me, they’ll automatically know you’ve been there, and done that.