You’re rocking Number #2 again. At the same time you are thinking what on earth will you cook for lunch? there is nothing in the fridge and you haven’t defrosted any meat. In another hour you have to take Number #1 out of the kindergarten and Number #2 is not willing to get off your hands. All you want is to be left childless for a little while (an hour, a day, a week). Sit down with a friend for a cup of coffee and not have to worry about the logistics of the afternoon or the extremely high mountain of laundry that sits on your couch and keeps getting higher at a depressing speed (filled with lots and lots of little clothes, not a few big jumpers).
“Does it get any easier?” I asked hopefully, still in shock. “No. It doesn’t. Only the difficulty changes,” my friend answered me honestly. With time, I realized what she was talking about. Breastfeeding, changing nappies and stroller worries have been replaced by pacifier rehab, language challenges, and the emotional roller-coaster ride involved in entering the nursery world. Then the difficulties turned into social challenges, body awareness, and school.
It is true that we have challenges waiting for us all through our life as parents, but nothing, I believe, is as shocking as those first few months when that tiny little thing is eating and sleeping at all hours of the day.
It’s Shocking with the first one, when all of a sudden you realize there is no one to give it back to and you’re stuck with it forever.
It’s heartbreaking with the second one, when you find yourself torn with guilt towards your firstborn for forcing him to share his kingdom from now on.
In the third one it’s just one big mess.
“The difficulty is mostly to keep myself. I’m pretty much lost inside the parent part of me. I used to be so many things that today I have no place, time and emotional availability for. I miss a lot of things.”
Parenting is sometimes nearly impossible
In the modern family there is an expectation from parents to be able to hold a career and be devoted parents.
In reality, often the two clash.
Add to it the fact that many of us do not live close to our original families, which greatly reduces our circle of support.
On the other hand –
In the last decade, research shows that improving parent-child relationships help both parties to develop better. The parent’s involvement in his child’s life contributes both to the child’s positive self-perception and to the parent’s perception of himself as a meaningful person.
Raising children constantly confronts us with new challenges, with situations we do not fully understand but must approach quickly and carefully. It is an ongoing process that requires a great deal of patience, creativity and constant development.
It’s absurd how the most important and difficult job most of us undertake in life comes with no instructions at all.
So how can we help ourselves?
Give yourself a break
Out of our great love for our children we tend to demand completely exaggerated demands of ourselves as parents. Such demands make parenting, which is anyway a demanding matter, even more demanding, to the point of impossibility.
most of all, your children need you to see them. Find something to do with your child that is pleasant for you and simple to operate. There is no need to obsessively take them to any enrichment activity there is in the area. The truth is that whatever you love doing, they will enjoy doing with you. Just choose something that you will have fun doing. They will be happy with anything you choose.
You can have tons of fun on the couch in your living room.
Give yourself a break #2
Be sure to occasionally throw those little angels at your partner / mom / aunt / caregiver. Go do something with yourself. Remember you were once a person.
Look inside yourself
I know it sounds very new age and probably make some of you pull a face, but in my nearly 20 years of motherhood there is nothing that has helped me become a better person and mother than trying to figure myself out.
Our children bring us this wonderful, sometimes painful, gift of waking things deep inside us. Events from our own childhood that we never gave much thought to. At some point you might find yourself talking to your child just the way one of your parents spoke to you. It may give you the chills.
It’s a wonderful gift, magic really. It’s an opportunity for you to become aware of old things that played automatically inside you until now. Once you are aware things will begin to change. Once things begin to change and you’re not on automatic pilot anymore, you will find you behave in ways that you’re happier with. That will give you relief.
You can do it alone, but having a child reflect yourself to you is the most powerful way. It’s such a beautiful system really: Children come into this world, turn our lives upside down and at the same time give us this beautiful gift. There really isn’t anything like it.
Forever THE best remedy for any pain. Share. Complain. Don’t hold anything back.
When you come to a place you can laugh at yourself, rest assured whatever life will bring upon you, you’ll be ok.
I hope you have found this interesting. If you’re left with any thoughts after reading this, I will be really glad to hear from you. Please leave me a few words in the comment section below.
All the best,