Have you checked out my Instagram reels lately? On Mondays and Fridays I get totally candid about everything from my design decisions, to my life as a mom. Social media cares so much about portraying impossibly perfect imagery, but I prefer to keep it real with my audience. Being honest about the truths we face in day-to-day life is what allows us to connect to one another in a very real way. Long ago I committed to living life on my own terms, and that includes how I raise my children. Though others might find my methods somewhat controversial at times, I have never regretted my decision to embrace honest parenting in a major way. If you’re curious about what that means, this is the blog for you!
The Unconventional Life of Breegan Jane
Chances are, if you’re here you probably know at least a little about me. I have always been different. I’m a biracial woman who was transracially adopted as a child by white parents. That alone makes me a bit of an anomaly in many people’s minds. But, that’s not where my uniqueness ends! I own my own design firm, and I’m an interior designer who specializes in custom, luxury design. That means I have celebrity clients. I’m also a TV host with more than eight shows on the Warner Bros. Discovery network.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that all of that keeps me incredibly busy. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m not only a mom, I’m a single mom. Simply put, my life is full! But I’m not complaining. In fact, I prefer it that way and I have an uncommon attitude regarding life balance that helps me successfully navigate my sometimes chaotic life. Even still, you can imagine that this combination of life circumstances would make things complex for anyone. I have had to be deliberate in my quest to make honest parenting a priority.
To Each Her Own
One thing is for sure, once a woman gets pregnant she will never lack in parenting recommendations! I’m sure other mamas out there will back me up on that one. The “bump” becomes a magnet for unsolicited advice, both good and bad.
People have often given me flack when it comes to parenting regarding the perceived lack of structure I provide for my sons. Notice I said “perceived.” That’s because while perception is powerful, it isn’t always factual. My schedule doesn’t look like the average working mom’s because of the type of work I do. I travel a lot for work. I’ve been on close to 30 planes just this year! I work long hours at various times of the day and sometimes night. Those factors might feel unstable to someone else, but we have always managed to provide routine and healthy expectations for my children. I have been diligent about putting systems in place that ensure my boys have structure and discipline in their daily lives. As a result, I’ve seen them both thrive.
What Does Structure Mean in Parenting?
Like many other aspects of my life, I could never have imagined my career would take this trajectory. It’s such an amazing feeling to have these experiences, but they have caused me to redefine what it means to have structure in my life. For us, honest parenting means raising sons to be well-adjusted and adaptable.
I know many parents cling tightly to bedtime schedules. For them, structure requires teeth to be brushed at a certain time and bodies to be in bed at another time with lights out, sleep sound machines on and doors closed. And listen, I get it. Training your children in this way allows them to read the signals that alert and ready them for bedtime each night. It alleviates the headache that bedtime can sometimes be for parents. But this isn’t the only way to give your children structure, and my life is a testament to that.
Honest Parenting in Action
From the very beginning of my parenting journey I was adamant about my stance that my children needed to fit into MY life, and not the other way around. Of course I knew my life would change when I became a mom, but it didn’t need to stop altogether! I intentionally kept the same noise volume in my house when I brought my babies home from the hospital. Now, they can sleep through anything! I traveled with my kids even as infants, and I was never afraid of messing up their schedules. You see, in my opinion, structure isn’t just putting the baby to bed at the same time each night. Structure is teaching my boys that no matter where we are, they can and will follow my lead. I call myself “the home maker” because I make homes. Home is anywhere we are, and I instill that in my boys.
Setting the Expectation
When Kingsley and Kensi were little and we were traveling, I developed a no-fail method to put them to sleep. I discovered that when it was bedtime, if I could cradle them in my lap and bounce them 60-90 times, they would always go right out. I would do this anywhere. Whether it was a closet, a bathroom or a room, this mama did what she had to do. It worked every time.
Familiarity is a big part of structure for children. But, we as parents have the ability and right to define what that means. If it looks like my children are able to adjust easily to unique situations, it’s because they are! And that’s by design. Structure doesn’t have to mean the same crib every night. It can also mean traveling across the world to the same place three times before the age of six! Honest parenting is exactly that. It’s honest. There isn’t a right or wrong way to be a parent. We’re all out here doing the best we can. My advice is to figure out how to give your kids a healthy lifestyle with expectations they can count on. Make it work for YOU, and don’t feel shame if your way doesn’t look like your neighbor’s. Healthy, happy kids are the goal, and that’s what I’m determined to raise!