I’m a person that was blessed enough to have a great relationship with both my mom and my dad. The amount of love, lessons and wisdom they poured into my life inform my parenthood strategies and outlook to this day.
Now that I’m in my early thirties and the man of my household, I find myself reflecting on the things my parents taught me. My mother and father taught me different perspectives and imparted different types of energy, which informed me into a well-rounded man that can give love and direction to my own growing family.
Let’s start with my mom.
My mom and I share a special bond, because we both almost didn’t survive her bringing me into the world.
She’s called me her “miracle baby” for as long as I’ve been creating memories.
Her pregnancy was filled with complications and I was born prematurely — a mere 2 pounds. She had extreme post partum depression and dealt with infections and other problems while separated from me as doctors and nurses nourished me to good health.
I have no scientific basis for believing this, but I feel that the fact that we went through this together created an understanding of each other that goes beyond words. I don’t know that I would have found the courage to move my family across the country to chase the dream of TV writing and standup comedy had mom not always been that whisper in my ear telling me that I can follow my dreams, no matter how crazy or out of the box they may be.
We both have a blue collar work ethic.
Though my mom has never been an inch taller than 5-feet even, she put herself through college doing everything from janitorial work to painting houses. She grew up without two nickels to rub together and always had the mindset that hard work and persevearance win the day.
So now, anytime we talk, we always manage to slip in conversation pertaining to business and goals.
Though she’s highly intelligent, she was the type of student that had to memorize entire chapters to make the grade. Because I didn’t naturally take to math and science the way my super high-IQ older brother did, mom was the one who recognized that I needed a bit more help.
Rather than comparing me to him, I’d wager that she recognized a bit of herself in me, and was the parent who always made sacrifices to help me with my school work. I’ll never forget those long hours at the table going over math problems until I get it right.
So I take moms lessons of hard work and compassion and apply them as I strive for my goals and exercise patience toward every area of my life.
Dad, on the other hand, instilled a hard nosed, no-excuses mindset, while paradoxically choosing to not take life too seriously.
Not long ago, dad asked what on earth made me want to move 2,000 miles to chase the dream of becoming a standup comedian.
His question was so shocking that I thought he was kidding.
“Where do you think I got it from?” I asked him.
My dad can and will joke about anything, with anyone, and leave an entire room of people in stitches. I had to learn to get funny at a young age because he’s always been quick witted and willing to have playful banter. I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with him had I not developed those comedic chops.
Once I told him that he was the spark that ignited that fire, I could tell that he was honored and glad that I had carried on his sense of humor and outlook on life.
Believe it or not, my dad is actually the more affectionate one out of my parents.
Sure, me and my brothers have never doubted either of my parents’ love, but dad has always been quicker to dish out hugs, kisses and playful headlocks to his boys.
At the same time, pops was always judge, jury and executioner if you messed up.
Getting in trouble wasn’t just punishment — dad would ask why you did what you did and hold you accountible for every word that came out of your mouth as you explain yourself. I still get chills thinking about those heart dropping moments of having to stand and face his stern look, make eye contact and own your mistakes.
Simply put, he made a man out of me with those moments.
But after the drama faded, he was always quick to explain the discipline and got back to good ol’ joking dad — because it was never personal.
With their powers combined, I’m now a well-rounded husband and have dad instincts for days that will continuously come in handy as me and my beautiful wife grow our family.
I think too many people in relationships worry about everything being 50/50 and split down the middle.
Not only is this not possible, you shouldn’t want it to be this way. My parents being different is beautiful, because I’ve been able to learn from both, while figuring out who I am as a person.
By being themselves, they gave me the toolbox I need to figure the world out, while tag-teaming with my wife, as we begin to impart lessons to little ones of our own.