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On Parenting
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/21/2012

Looking back at 2012 and saying goodbye

As we wrap up 2012 and I wrap up my role as The Post’s parenting blogger, let’s recap some of the most memorable stories of this past year. This is a wholly personal list, and in no particular order.

Earlier today, I posted the first part of my list of the most memorable stories of the past year. Here’s the rest of the list:

Dads fight back

Frustrated with thecliche of dads as lame Mr. Moms, fathers became more vocal in protest. The most successful campaign was waged against Huggies, which had to revamp a series of ads after public outrage. The company replaced images of dads as overwhelmed babysitters with depictions presenting them as superheroes in the home.

Perception of gay parenting evolves into ordinary parenting

Support for gay marriage surged this year, both in public opinion and in the White House. The increasing number of gay parents was credited, at least partially, for ‘normalizing’ the popular image of gay life.

Penn State’s cautionary tale

Last year, the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal broke and had us questioning who we could trust. This year, more evidence came out to expose the list of officials who did nothing in the face of obvious evidence. Joe Paterno’s memory is now tainted, his statue now removed from State College, and his legacy now encapsulated in the first sentence of an investigator’s report: “The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

A year of unfathomable violence

Ohio school shootings. Aurora movie theater. Newtown.

Stories of gun violence, horrifying death and childhood innocence lost dominating our year. The burials in Connecticut will haunt us for many years to come.

This is my last post for On Parenting. I will be leaving the beat, but look for the introduction of a new parenting page to washingtonpost.com.

There are many thoughtful people I am grateful to for elevating this blog over the last two years, as sources, inspirations, advisors, writers, readers and commenters. I can’t name you all here, but if you suspect you might be on my list, you are. A special thanks to laura33 and sideswiththekids, first among equals when it came to commenting. And, of course, thanks to the two little people who have made me a parent and to my partner, three folks who have personally endured my learning curve and time-management failures as a blogger.

I am fortunate to have gained a priceless education because of this assignment. Of the many terrific ideas and bits of advice I’ve heard, one of my favorite came just a few weeks ago, in an interview with Heidi Murkoff, the author of the first book many of us picked up when we learned we would be parents, “What to Expect when You’re Expecting.”

I asked her what one suggestion she would give a new parent. She didn’t say “enjoy every moment,” which we all know is advice that serves to do little except unleash an awful ache. Instead, she re-crafted that idea into something more in keeping with what it truly feels like to be a parent.

“Don’t blink.”

Parenting correctly is an impossible task. No matter our choices, we are, collectively, criticized as being too self-involved, too self-reverential, too intense, too lax. Our own families question us and our own kids, if they aren’t critical of us now, one day will be. Often, the most damning judgments come from within.

The only way to power through, really, is to accept that we can’t do it perfectly. We just have to keep trying.

Thank you all and best wishes.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 12/21/2012

 
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