Kids & Parenting
Let's be honest, parenting is HARD... Especially when you do it right!
I always thought I was made of pretty tough stuff and have never been one to shy away from a challenge.
Jump out of a plane? Yup, done.
Climb an ice-capped volcano, then slide back down on my bum? No problemo.
Work some dodgy-as jobs to scrape together rent and beans whilst studying. Oh yes.
However, the strength required to parent (and parent WELL) is so much more than I ever expected.
Tears (from both parent and child) over enforced consequences, wrangling over the idiosyncrasies of manners, wrestling a guilty conscience… all seem ceaselessly rule our world.
And occasionally a little voice in my head asks… “Could it be easier if we didn’t CARE so much?”
We all start this road, determined to raise our children with the best start in life, and to be the best version of themselves. Children who are respectful and kind (to themselves, others and the world around them), who are honest and who operate with integrity, who are loving, open and genuine, who know themselves and who are strong enough to be themselves. But also children who are well educated, healthy, resilient and ready for the world… the list goes on.
To most time-poor parents, it often feels like an insurmountable task to get there, making you doubt your own ability. If it is so tough, are we doing something wrong? If we aren’t relishing every second of our time in this cray-cray role, are we bad parents?
Out there, in the trenches every day, as much as we love our children, it isn’t all just crayon love hearts and newborn snuggles. And in today’s world it is so much more than the simple days of providing food and shelter – the emotional wellbeing of children and nurturing of relationships has exploded the Pandora’s box of parenting.
Working really hard at something inevitably means it is going to be tough. Trying each day to be better at something than the last, but always seeing the goalposts move (thank-you growth spurts!), is inevitably going to knock your confidence.
Not enjoying it every second of the day doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. But the world is not perfect, and parents are not perfect. This journey we are all on, trying our best to guide these little people to grow into beautiful men and women, is a monumental task and a truckload of responsibility.
The best things in life take perseverance, failure, commitment and growth. And a lot of coffee!
- It is OK to argue with your kids.
- It is OK to feel like you aren’t up to the task and to feel ill equipped for what the day is throwing at you.
- It is OK to make mistakes and apologise.
It is OK to cry when you don’t even know why.
It is natural to doubt yourself and worry.
It is OK to want to lock yourself in the bathroom to catch your breath sometimes.
It’s even OK to want to ditch the family and book yourself a hotel room for 2 nights just to watch Netflix and curl up under the doona.
It’s normal to wonder what life would be like without kids, even if just a fleeting thought.
It is normal to wish away the minutes until naptime.
It is natural to feel almost crushingly alone sometimes.
It is possible to love your child completely, whilst not always liking them very much.
And it is then totally normal to feel suffocatingly guilty about all of the above!
Good parenting takes so many forms, and we are all here, simply trying to do our best. From making sure they are eat their greens and are somehow successfully dressed everyday (yes, a fresh pair of pyjamas counts), to finding the inner calm to communicate rather than yell when a 3-year old has a meltdown, or when a 7-year old refuses to sit down to dinner. It’s finding positive words to discipline when you are tired and up to your elbows in the latest lockdown and you are due at your virtual desk in 30 minutes. It is knowing that when a day doesn’t go well, you can start again tomorrow and it will better.
Just know, it’s not just you, and you aren’t alone.
Need some support? Parentline is a free counselling service for parents. Call 1300 301 300 or visit www.parentline.com.au