If there’s one thing I know for sure when it comes to parenting, it’s that it isn’t what it says on the tin. What they promote in the glossy mags and in parenting books ain’t so and though we have countless blog posts and people telling us the things we shouldn’t be doing – I’m here to share what I WILL be doing. But the work isn’t with the child, it’s with me. Have a read and see if you agree with me.
In a world where people are constantly looking for quick fixes and 5 quick steps on how to improve such and such, what the vast majority of us aren’t willing to do is put in the work. We wonder why things don’t work or fall apart when we’re so easily distracted or willing to walk away. When it comes to parenting- it’s one of those things we can’t really quit. It’s a daily grind and some days we’re better at it and others we’re barely getting by. One of the ways I was able to remove some of the pressures I put on myself was to take each day at a time. There isn’t a set way your life has to look. Not every meal will be a perfectly Instagrammable balanced meal. You will have a messy house in some instances and you most certainly will lose your patience. Take that load off. We can all accept and know that life is messy, it’s raw and in many cases it’s draining. There isn’t an off switch, there might be moments where you can pause but it always goes on and the beauty in that is that you can always start again. But one thing’s for sure- with more things in life, just like parenting- you have to do you. You have to proceed with things that make sense to you, in your family. Not everyone’s opinion or process will work for you. You can read all of the articles/blogs/books that you want and may still struggle to find something that works, because it’s never one size fits all. Ever.
Your job as a parent is to teach your kids how to deal with disappointment, not to keep it from them.
What I make an effort on is to be vulnerable/open/honest in front/with your children; of course context and age appropriately. I have in-depth conversations with my daughter about race, history, culture and life. She is an avid reader and loves historical books, so we have had to have many conversations re: historical context and the clear imbalances which existed then and in some cases still do. Yes, it’s heavy but I also want her to see and understand what she’s reading in relation to how times have changed. On the flip side, I also show her my emotions- if something upsets me I tell her. If and when she says something that makes me feel sad or upset I let her know my emotions. Definitely not in a way to make her feel guilty but for her to realise that words have consequences and impact. I also encourage her to share how she’s feeling and if she’s not able to put it into words- we have a pile of notecards for her to write it down and hand it to me when she’s ready. I actively work on not telling her to stop crying, I try not to invalidate her feelings and I also translate that to myself as well.
We can’t all look good at the same time, it’s either me, the kids or the house.
You aren’t perfect and will never be. The idea of projecting “perfection” is problematic in and of itself, but that’s a post for another day. Your child needs and should know that you are human and part of the human cocktail is making mistakes. Sometimes inadvertently choosing the wrong option. It’ll happen to them and it’ll happen to you. Sometimes it is defeatist, sometimes it is giving it your all and still not succeeding. Life has its ups and downs and we roll with it. We shouldn’t be expected to have it all figured out, even as an adult. And I think that openness is important for your children to see and to know. I came across the below post on a friend’s FB, and it spoke to me so much because it is so very true. I feel like the bulk of my knowledge about myself began once I became a mother. Maybe because in some way, I felt like I lost myself- it forced me to dig deep and find myself again. I try honesty and that dynamic works well for my and my little one. Most days I’m simply winging it but trying to make it look good. 😅