Parenting Is … a loaded topic in this day and age (especially here on the interwebs)! Dare I go there? I go everywhere else so why not. Parenting is actually really hard for me. There, I am putting it out there. I am putting it out there bravely, openly and honestly, the same way I put everything out there! Parenting is at once my greatest joy and my greatest challenge. It is complex despite my yearnings for simplicity. It is a process of joy, grief, joy, grief, aha moment. There is so much to learn, about parenting itself, and about ourselves.
Parenting is one of the most personal experiences, and everyone has an opinion. Having an opinion on the way that someone else parents is not really my style, unless there is abuse or something illegal involved. Please pretty please keep your opinions to yourself. It is hard enough for some of us without the added burden of judgement.
I know that some people love, cherish and declare their undying affection for parenting 24|7, and I honestly have nothing but admiration for you. I am a single person who parents, I have no Mother, no supportive family members around me, and my village is still quite tiny. Far from being a pity party, this is all about being vulnerable and real. These factors change the way that I see and experience parenting. There are others in worse situations I know, but this is my situation and most days it is not easy.
I adore being a Mother, I adore the little human I am blessed to care for. The fierce warrior love I have for him is not diminished on the days that I struggle as a parent.
The reality is not always beautiful but it is perfectly imperfect for us. Yes I have chosen a life that focuses on the light and the positive after living in the darkest depths for my late teens, 20s and early 30s. I still live with a lot of darkness though, I live with complex mental health issues and the depths of grief that never really leave you. My parenting experience is affected by these things on a daily basis. I carry a lot of guilt and regrets, as hard as I try to be free from these burdens.
Parenting is definitely a privilege, and I know many who ache for this privilege or whose precious children were taken from them too soon. It is all relative, and it is all so very personal. Which is why it is so important to choose empathy over judgement, and to love yourself and others over constant criticising.
It is so true that we are often our own harshest critics. As long as you can learn from reflecting on your own parenting rather than just criticise yourself. I encourage you to open your heart and your mind to the lessons that come on a daily basis in this role.
My current focus is on this concept:
The things that anger, frustrate or confuse you about your children are the things you need to look at in yourself.
Children can be like some sort of universal mirror, reflecting back to us the things we need to learn and work on. I am finding this incredibly difficult, although I know this is where I can learn the most, heal and open up to even more love.
Parenting is our chance to shape the future, to lead by example and play a part in putting more goodness and love out into a world that is hurting. Parenting is our responsibility to the precious souls that are entrusted to us. Every day as they grow and change we grieve for the parts of themselves they leave behind, and then the grief is quickly replaced with joy as they amaze us with something new.
The days can be long yet the years seem to fly by. Make your days count. Parenting is a privilege denied to many and although some days are simply hard, those days can become your greatest chance to reflect and dig deeper to a place where love thrives!