You may have dreamed of what having children looked like when you were younger. A beautiful home with children playing in the backyard, family dinners at the table with laughter, and easy bedtimes with cozy stories and hugs.
Then you had kids.
It may look more like peeling your children’s fingers off their gaming system to actually go outside, giving your children a piece of bread as you rush out the door for soccer practice. And cozy bedtimes? How many times does your child really need water, or snacks…. will they ever SLEEP?
For some it’s even harder. Having to work three jobs to survive, giving your child a key to the house and responsibility too young to look after younger siblings. Coming home exhausted knowing these darlings are now dying for your attention and you have nothing to give. Or struggling with your own mental health that hinders you from giving your children the love and affection they look for in you.
Parenting is far from “natural” and sometimes its just strait up hard. Who said we could do this? Who put ME in charge??
That being said, every parent wants the very best for their child. There’s no such thing as a “bad” parent. Our personal judgement of other parents may place them in such categories as good or bad, but at the end of the day, we are all just trying to do our best in the parenting journey.
I remember one of my friends telling me over coffee how she could never understand how “some” parents just couldn’t get a grip on their kids. She had two perfect girls who were very easy to manage. She regrettably admitted to judging other parents. Then she had her son and her world flipped upside down. He was harder to “manage” and for the first time she wondered if she was really cut out for this parenting gig. Her views towards other parents instantly softened.
Most parents who find parenting easy have been blessed with children who’s temperaments compliment the temperament of the parents. Temperament plays a large role in how natural parenting may come to us. If our temperaments match, it’s smoother sailing, but if we get the luck of the draw with a child with a conflicting temperament, it can be a bumpy ride. We bang our heads against the wall wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get this parenting thing right?” Think about it. You choose your partner, but you don’t choose your children. They just come as they are, and as my one friend says to her daughter, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
Or maybe you do.
Maybe you find yourself frustrated and even depressed over the cards you’ve been dealt. The guilt that comes with feeling those emotions only add to the weight. You are not alone. I too have at times felt bitter towards the cards I was dealt because my children came with temperaments that often would bring out anger in me. I have two boys, both who struggle with mental health… and now I do too. Jokes aside, it’s been a long hard journey for me to LEARN how to parent my boys in the way they need. I used to try to control them only to realize that this worked the opposite on them than it did on me. As a child, I complied. They, however, only stand their ground stronger. I used to yell out of frustration, now I’ve learned how my boys think and how to communicate with them that meets their emotional needs. It’s a dance we have to learn together.
Not knowing how to connect or communicate with our children doesn’t mean your a bad parent, it means your learning how to dance with them. And I promise you, as you listen to them and watch how they work, you’ll learn the steps soon enough. Keep going. Don’t ever give up.