What Are Your Sources of Strength as a Parent?
Q: Moms have been vocal in their support, but dads seem to have more concerns. Your own husband, Dean, is supportive. What advice would he give to other dads to help them understand and accept their princess boys?
I don't know if I could do Dean justice. I'm still learning from him, but I will say that there are more men than you think who are emailing me. Men are saying, "Thank you for not forcing a role on me as a man, that I'm supposed to do this. I'm not comfortable putting it out there, but I just want to tell you." These are men of all ages. Grandfathers and teenagers are e-mailing. Many of them are not parents. I think that it's tough for men. The pressure is getting released.
Q: How do you deal with other parents who criticize or blame your parenting style?
Reactions are varied. For me, I go with a gut reaction. If I feel somebody is open to having a constructive dialogue, I'm willing to do it. There are times when I don't react and I don't say anything. I confess I'm not the perfect parent and I don't think any of us are. We all want the best for our kids. My kids are number one in my life and I will do anything I can to help them. There's no difference in my support for Dyson who loves to dress up and Dkobe who loves soccer. It's a journey and it's not easy.
Q: What are the sources of strength you and your husband gather as parents to support Dyson and Dkobe?
This is truly one of the hardest things I've ever done. The biggest source of strength are my two boys and my man -- my three boys. Dean, Dkobe, and Dyson are extraordinary. They're normal. They're human. I love that about them. They just keep that strength going. We also have a tight extended family. Our parents travel with us and the kids, so there's always someone with us. The biggest strength after releasing the secret has been the other parents out there -- the parents telling me stories and my son walking into his class and saying, "I'm a princess boy. Here's the book, teacher. Read this to everyone." A dialogue is happening and adults are starting to listen to kids, responding to each other and talking. Every day on the Facebook page, people are posting and dialoguing with each other constructively.
Q: What are your greatest struggles and greatest joys as parents?
The greatest joy is both my kids coming to their own conclusions and their own decisions. Sometimes I get it; sometimes I don't. Sometimes I agree; sometimes I don't. I think it's a little piece of who they are becoming and I like that puzzle, the little pieces along the way. Parenting is hard! I think the biggest struggle is making the right choices and making the best for our kids.
Q: What is the best and the worst parenting advice you have received?
Best advice -- "Start and end with love." All the meat can be in the middle. That's what my parents have taught me, to start and end with love. The worst advice is "Do anything you can to change them."
Q: A parent on your Facebook page mentioned the term "superhero girls." Do you have plans to write a book about girls dressing up as boys?
I was a tomboy, so I played sports and didn't like dresses and things like that. I could possibly write about that, but it's not about getting a book out there. It's about the movement, about acceptance. We're all in the moment right now and we have to see where it goes.
Q: What is your goal or hope for where the book and its message will lead?
My only real mission was a dialogue, and it was a worldwide dialogue. That was my goal. My kids will have to leave the nest at some point, like all of our kids, and I don't want any child to leave the nest to go into a world where they can't be who they are.
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