Life Lessons From Our Far-From-Perfect Parents

Jim and Jen 3
Jen and her husband Jim

My husband and I both come from loving but imperfect families.

My parents never actually married and endured a very rocky 12 years together before finally calling it quits. I spent the majority of my time growing up with my grandparents, simply because my mother had to work all of the time and put herself through school.

My father had some bad habits that definitely did not set the greatest example nor condone unsupervised visits. My parents’ relationship was more often bad than good, and I knew even when I was little that this wasn’t what home life was supposed to be like.

My mother never really dated anyone again because of how bad it was when they were together. She is still single all of these years later. My father and I stopped talking when I was 17, after years of disappointments and broken promises I had had enough. It was the hardest thing  to do walk away from my father. The one piece of advice he continually gave me throughout my life was to not make the same mistakes he had, to learn from his mistakes and I held onto that.

My husband’s situation growing up was different than mine, but also somewhat imperfect. He has only met his biological father once in his life, when he was a teenager. Instead, he and his sister were raised by their stepfather, whom their mom married when my husband was 4 years old. His stepfather is one of the kindest, most loving individuals I’ve ever met. My husband’s parents argued a little growing up, which is completely normal, but overall he had a great childhood with loving family. His mom and stepdad are still married and involved in all of our lives. Although his family situation was not a typical one, he lived a happy childhood with loving and encouraging parents.

Jen, Jim, and sonIt would be easy for both husband and me to let our imperfect upbringings determine our adult life. But thankfully, that was not the case for us.  My husband and I share the same values and wants for our son. We both do everything we can to provide him with the experiences we feel are positive for his life and his upbringing. I have consciously made decisions to NOT behave the way my parents did and to NEVER make my child go through anything like I did.

With my husband, he chooses to live his life by the example of his stepfather: a man who honorably raised and loved he and his sister as his own, rather than to be like his biological father who was never around. We both have imperfect stories and childhoods, but neither of us live our lives mirroring our pasts; we turned our negative experiences into positive lessons that will carry us into a bright future as a family!

By sharing these personal stories with you I am trying to show that just because you come from an imperfect family situation doesn’t mean you will absolutely be destined to live the same lives as your parents. Sure, our pasts somewhat mold our ideas about relationships, but we have a choice to turn those ideas into positive or negative outcome. My past has made me into the strong willed honest person I am today, and though it was hard as heck, looking back it made me into an incredible wife and parent. My husband’s past helped him become a loving and faithful husband and father.

So don’t ever allow someone to tell you that you are destined to live your life a certain way, take the negative things and turn them into positive, you can only be as happy as you allow yourself to be!

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