While this job isn't easy, it sure does make you feel amazing when things go well. And only when it's your definition of 'well', not the so-called perfect parent's 'well.'

Here's my definition of a 'perfect parent':

Perfect Parent (noun) One who rolls their eyes at you when you are doing something they don't approve of.

I sure wish I could be the perfect parent that they are (insert sarcasm here). I do what feels right and I know the difference between right and wrong. When I don't have the answer in my head, I go with my heart. And above all, I always lead with tenderness. And what is 'perfect' anyway? We all screw it up and so do our children and there's genuine virtue in learning from our mistakes. I've been attending church at Rockford First and Pastor Jeremy Deweerdt said one morning, "if there's anyone in here this morning that is perfect, you can leave, we don't do perfect here."

As a kid, I was very observant of adults. My parents, their friends, my friend's parents. Things I was embarrassed by, things I thought were cool, how they dressed, how they talked, how they interacted with their kids and other adults, and what was and wasn't important to them.

Now being the parent of a daughter myself, I have learned the difficulty of it all. Your child watches you every second and takes in everything you do. They are like little sponges absorbing every detail. While I have made several adjustments after becoming a parent, there are some things I will not change.


The 10 Concessions I Will Never Make as a Parent

1. I will not drive a mini van. I don't care how efficient or economic they are. I'm good with my SUV, thanks.

2. Social drinking. When my daughter was in 2nd grade she told me her teacher said that beer was bad and people shouldn't drink it. While I will agree with this teacher that beer does TASTE bad, I will not be giving up my Vodka and Diet Sprite while I'm out with friends. It is needed for my sanity and remaining a good parent. Don't judge me.

3. Listening to my kind of music and not changing the channel to Radio Disney every time she asks. While I will do this sometimes, I think it is important to introduce our kids to all types of music and not just what's 'hot now'.

4. Working out. While it's a little easier for me to get to the gym now because my daughter in in school, it was much more difficult when she was little and wanted to be attached to me every second. I'm sure many of you can relate. Keeping a healthy mind and body is so important , not only for yourself, but for the well-being of your kids.

5. My morning coffee. This will always be a necessity. It must happen every day before I am able to adult. My daughter knows this now and already knows how to work the Keurig.

6. 'Me time.' We all need this. Whether it's a little quiet time to read a book, a night out with my friends, taking a walk, or seeing an 'R' rated movie. A little time away from our kids is good for us to re-focus, re-energize, and to honest, it makes me a better parent.

7. Date nights. This is so important. Whether you are married, or dating and you and your significant other both have kids. Never let go of these. They are crucial to maintain healthy relationships.

8. My style. Just because I am 48-years-old does not mean I'm going to wear pleated pants and button ups every day. There's been some discussion of whether or not my athletic shoe choice below is a 'dad shoe' or not. I have 48-year-old feet, they're comfortable and I don't care what you think.

9. My kitchen rules. We cook together and as the sign says above my fridge, "we dance in this kitchen."


10. I will never stop hugging, kissing and cuddling with my daughter with everything I've got. She will know that a man should be affectionate and if he's not, he is not the right guy for you.

Keep doing your parenting thing the best way you know how. And don't lose yourself in the process. Your kids will probably think your a little bit cooler for it, and even if they don't, they will adore you for being authentic.