I was blown away by the honest answers to a question I posed to my facebook community recently…
A simple one sentence question unveiled a humbling array of responses that ranged from finding balance in personal time through to fears of inadequacy. Thank you to everyone who commented.
“What I love most about the direction my blog is taking is that it is slowly bringing together parents from all walks of life, each with their own beliefs, strengths and challenges and it’s creating a forum where learning through experience is encouraged, sharing our vulnerabilities is safe as well as putting us all on a level platform where we can band together in support of each other. I’m baffled when I see parents critisize one another for personal choices as innate as the way they choose to feed their babies for example or the method of birthing they chose or had to take. I just don’t understand why genuine support for one another is the intent – I guess I’m wired differently.”
What I found was there are a tonne of parents whom hold an honest intention to really be the best they can be and raise young children into independent and contributive human beings in society. Credit to you all.
Maintaining privacy of course, here are some of the generically different types of feelings that were shared — I think we can all learn from and come to appreciate a few of them;
- Finding time for self is difficult at times. Well, most of the time. A common theme I’ve come across and share agreement in through my own experience is the difficulty in balancing personal time with parenting. Let’s be honest, kids consume virtually all of our time. Right from the moment you walk in the door after a long day dealing with kids at work (insert sarcasm here), you’re faced with wiping spaghetti off of walls, navigating the mine field that is Lego down the hall way, wiping tooth paste off of mirrors from the mornings art session and getting kids in their own beds (if you don’t co-sleep that is). Then when you look at the clock only to feel your heart sink ’cause it’s way past your own bed time, do you pray for a breath of fresh air for the next day. If you’re lucky enough to have your spouse or partner help you around the house, you may buy a few moments of free time but let’s be honest, you both could do with a little more, for yourself, and each other.
- Raising your child to have good values. Karma is one of those things, isn’t it? It works well when it’s in your favour, but it’s a bugger when it’s not. Having good values as a human being ties in with this concept. As our little ones grow and realise good morals, their emotional intelligence matures (hopefully) and they understand what’s right from wrong and good from bad then their lives start to take direction proportional to the values they hold. I found that some of the responses carried this same theme – a desire to instill good values in our kids. One interesting response highlighted the fact that it’s especially important to do this at a young age as that’s when we have the best chance. As kids grow and their brains develop it becomes more resistant to change so it’s important to get it right from the start. Or at least do our best to.
- Leadership. In some shape or form, even for me personally in my responses to those that commented, leadership came up as a challenge. I think this really sat in the context of being a good enough leader or role model. In a previous post you might like on the topic of leadership in parenting I was really trying to get the message across that if our intent is positioned with humility, honesty and positivity then we really can only do our best as parents. In the article I gave six personal tips to help focus in on the strengths of both parents and their kids. Worth a read if your value being a good role model or leader to your kids.
- Patience. No surprise right? Last Lent I asked God to grant me the gift of more patience – let’s just say I’m still working on it. I’m not surprised however that the most common response came from this challenge or some variation with the use explicit language to describe it thereof. Kids are well equipped to test the patience meter of parents, it happens all the time and most of the time at the very least convenient time. Coincidentally though, kids are just being kids and the origin of the lack of patience resides more often in the parents life rather than the child’s. I’d be curious to hear how different parents manage this one… I too find it a challenge and have so far off set the challenges of patience with the love I have for my kids. Leave me comment and share how you manage this one.
- Sleep. What would a list of challenges be without sleep being on it. For new Mum’s and Dad’s this one is all too common. Night feeds. Upset tummies. Teething. Wonder weeks. You name it. When we were younger, little sleep was the norm and staying awake until the early hours of the morning was somewhat easier. As you get older – it gets tougher. But the thing is, we all get through it. And somehow most of us learn to be efficient on little sleep for a while. It’s when it accumulates over days or weeks that the above challenges really start to become apparent. I’d argue there is a direct correlation between sleep and how well we as parents manage the previous four challenges. My solution… accept it’s OK to compromise. Sleep at random times. When baby does. When your spouses offers to take over. Or ask them to. For new Mum’s and Dad’s the thought of housework for example often pushes sleep to the side but the long term challenges of sleep deprivation out risks the pile of washing or extra dishes in the sink.
When looking over the above points, the common pillars I see holding all of these together is team work. Communication and team effort between Mum and Dad is the secret sauce I think. Taking some of the load, doing a few extra duties, calling a night off from work together, a massage, a late night conversation over a cuppa, a dinner date with some friends, an understanding and appreciation for each others efforts and an acknowledgement of your partners intent in all things really goes a long way. The glue that holds parenting together is the parents. With the craziness that is parenting, I think that can go forgotten at times. Go team.
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