Raising Richmond: Superpowers and kryptonite

When it comes to parenting, we all have moments when we tend to shine and moments when we, well… don’t. So today we ask: What is your parenting superpower? What is your parenting kryptonite?

Editor’s note: Today’s feature is the newest installment of our parenting column written by two sets of Richmonders: Jorge and Patience Salgado (veteran parents of four gorgeous children), and Ross and Valerie Catrow (new-ish parents of a lively and opinionated toddler). Check back fortnightly to watch them discuss/agree/disagree/throw down over all kinds of parenting issues, Richmond-related and beyond.

When it comes to parenting, we all have moments when we tend to shine and moments when we, well… don’t. You know what we’re talking about: times when you walk with your head a little higher, thinking to yourself, “I got this!” versus times that just bring you to your knees. So today’s question is…

What is your parenting superpower? What is your parenting kryptonite?

Once you’ve read our stories, we hope you’ll share yours. (And keep an eye out for more on this in the coming weeks — it’s going to be part of a new feature series we’ll be doing with Raising Richmond.)

Patience Salgado

I wish we could all wear blue capes, declaring our superness like Grover. We spend far too much time obsessing over our failures as parents and not nearly enough time celebrating the goodness we are passing down to the people we love most in the world.

Even as I offer this lovely, feel-good parenting wisdom, I could barely come up with one parenting superpower myself. I think the second I find it and claim it, it will be doomed. It’s kind of like how we never mention when the baby is on a run of sleep — it’s a parenting hocus pocus unspoken rule.

So I’m breaking code, the self judge and ridiculous superstition ones in particular: I have a superpower when it comes to kindness. My children have had lots of opportunities to experience and offer it in a multitude of ways. I married my husband because I saw it so deeply in him. It is a requirement in our house, but at moments we have had to navigate what it looks like in all different kinds of situations. We have found the play in kindness, the challenge of kindness, even the dark side of kindness.

It is the one thing I hope my children know deep in their bones when they leave us someday. I hope it gives them comfort, hope, direction, power and joy.

Unfortunately, unkindness is also my kryptonite — that and whining. Children fighting, being mean, or complaining punches my buttons on so many levels. I seem to be able to resist at first but then I am drained pretty quickly. I turn into the opposite of super, let me tell you. With four children, big chunks of that superman-esque green rock conflict are bound to be thrown into the mix, even with all the pre-emptive kindness.

I have found that discovering your own kryptonite also tells you something about your superpower. It seems I have used kindness to avoid having to deal with conflict over the years. Learning to move through conflict is a biggie in personal development so I guess we are all learning.

The tricky thing about parenting is just when you think you got the groove of your superpower going on — you are flying, busting through walls, saving the day — something will change, someone will grow and you will be forced to discover a new superpower. I’m just hoping in the end, there are a whole lotta super people out there.

Ross Catrow

Guys! Dads are parents too! And to reinforce this as truth I, a dad myself, have arrived/returned to set down on these immutable ones-and-zeroes my opinions and thoughts on “parenting.” This week’s topic — as you by now have learned — is about parenting superpowers and parenting kryptonites. Let us begin with superpowers — as a superhero you never want to give away your debilitating weaknesses if you can help it.

Children: they are often manipulative little monsters — at least when they aren’t performing an array of soul-melting cutenesses. Our child, who began his illustrious career of manipulation early in life, has since become a master in the dark art of bending our emotions to his black will. Luckily for me, and unbeknownst to him, I HAVE NO EMOTIONS. My heart is fashioned from unbending, gleaming steel that trucks no fuss regardless of how you gnash your terrible teeth and rend your terrible robes.

While this might seem like the markings of a deficient personality it actually has many benefits! Foremost of which is ignoring my little charlatan when he decides that two glasses of orange juice are simply insufficient if I wish to see him survive another second on this earth. I am unyielding when it comes to bedtime pleas and dinnertime choices. Oh, also when *someone* doesn’t want to listen to Hot 100.9 anymore — for some unfathomable reason.

Maybe that makes me a cruel and unusual father, BUT SO BE IT. I’m the adult, he’s the child, I (typically) know best. I want to raise a human who understands that, sometimes, you can’t always get what you want (but if he tries sometimes, etc).

Now, every superhero must have a weakness or they are bland, all powerful, and uninteresting (Aside: this is why Batman is way cooler than Superman. Superman has GODLIKE powers, Batman is just a badass dude). For me, and this is going to sound tres stupid, it is: vomit.

I mean its just vomit right? EVERYBODY’S GOT VOM. But, augh, I dunno. I can’t handle it when my dogs puke, and I certainly can’t handle it when another human boots in my vicinity. It’s not that I’m a sympathetic barfer — I’m not — it’s just the familiarity of the once-items in a steamy pool of human juice that gets me. The thing that once was, now is again, only in a putrified state. Basically, it is zombie food. Which is awful.

PLUS WHAT IF YOUR KIDS SPEWS IN YOUR MOUTH!?! Augh! The Humanity!

I thank my lucky stars I have a partner that is impervious to all expelled body fluids regardless of their shape, size, or putridocity. Actually, now that I think about it, my wife Val’s superpower is vomiting. Not like she can vomit super human volumes, or with a super human exit velocity, but dealing with disgusting things is certainly a strength of hers. And considering her heart is most definitely *not* fashioned from unbending, gleaming steel (not that she’s a pushover; she’s just…humanish), I’d say we’re a well-matched set.

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Patience Salgado

8 comments on Raising Richmond: Superpowers and kryptonite

  1. It’s true. Nothing grosses me out. The first time our kid threw up, I laughed. Not because I’m a jerk — he threw up because he was laughing so hard.

  2. Matt on said:

    Take Ross’ power and weakness and reverse them.
    That’s me.

    Too many emotions, no fear of bodily detritus.

  3. I have no emotions and am OK with fluids, but if those kids draw circles all over anything, I’m out.

  4. Jennifer on said:

    Ross, take it from a fellow emetophobic who has thrown away entire sets of sheets, rugs, towels and perfectly good clothing because they were vomited upon, nothing brings a child and parent together like a good phobia. And while your child will grow up to be completely normal and charming despite the parent’s unnatural fear (example, my lovely Lex), said child may in fact develop the same phobia/s. Don’t even get me started on our other mother-daughter shared fear – ranidaphobia. (Frogs! Arghhh! Run away, run away!)

  5. funny stuff :)

  6. Great! Love this !! We all have our kryptonite, and these are well described. It’s definitely a little more difficult for all of us to describe the superpowers, although we DO all have them.

    I’m not sure we could make it through the parenting years without some superpowers.

    Mine? I’d have to say Ridiculous, nonsensical optimism and Whining.

  7. I like this because it’s all about love and humor, the two essential elements needed to navigate through life.

  8. Julie on said:

    Please forgive my late post…

    I got an awesome Mom power. I can find all missing things. Even things I should never be able to find, if someone says “have you seen my grey lego shaped kind of like a ziggy-zot” I will wander a kid’s hardcore clutter filled room for 10 seconds and be all like “this one?” It’s magic.

    Kryptonite: (one of at least several) Dinner. What do you want (husband?) “I don’t care” What do you want (older son?) “I dunno.” What do you want (youngest son?) “Chocolate chips.”
    Ughhhh…frozen pizza again? I hate it. Nothing ever sounds good, and after work I just don’t have the energy to care, let alone like…cook. Husband is no help, he works even harder than me, and is even less interested in cooking. It sucks.

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