parenthood 101: go easy on yourself
Parenting is not easy.
I'm sure those of you who are parents know this and I'm sure those of you who are about to become parents, have been told this. Warranted advice or not.
As a typical Type A, OCD, orderly, list making, stubborn woman, I have the tendency to be really hard on myself (I have to wonder how I function in a day!).
This multiplied exponentially when I became a mom almost 2 years ago.
My stresses became more obvious. My outbursts became more frequent. My worries happened on the regular. My confidence became suffocated. All of this wrapped into one big package with a black bow on it. All of it being dominated and driven by a little 26 pound boy who is the love of my life.
I've been very candid about my life and have been known to document it online. Some find this rather unusual (including my other half), others find it bold and some find it inspiring. I've also been tremendously open about motherhood on a blog I contribute to, Motherlucker.com, where I am fortunate to be a part of such a fantastic, supportive tribe of women and other mothers. We talk about all the messy when it comes to motherhood – the good, the bad, the ugly and the sleepless. Most recently when I spoke about The Working Mother Balancing Act, and how as a working mom, I am constantly on a quest to find the perfect balance. For me.
But Parenting 101…..I’ve given this a lot of thought. How come there is no ‘how to’ guide on parenting? It would be a required mandate before the thought of even becoming preggers. It shows you all the in’s and out’s on parenthood, then you take a test and when your baby is born, everything goes according to plan and you know exactly what to do and how to handle everything.
Maybe in a perfect world. But not reality.
So how do we navigate through this world as parents, keeping our kids alive, healthy, fulfilled and feeling loved? On top of all of that, how do we do the same for the relationship with our partners? It's like a non-stop balancing act to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. The pressure, the demands, the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality, the financial stresses. The list goes on and on. What if there was a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution to make sure everything is done well and right with no consequences?
I was pondering this recently….as my husband and I sat on the couch at our psychologist’s office….go figure. (And for the record, we are seeing someone for the simple health and to facilitate open communication for our marriage. I think it’s the least we can do to make sure we stay on track because we’re in this to win this).
But here’s the real deal: there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all solution and there is no manual on parenting that if you pass, you ace this phase of life and everything goes according to plan. I’ve learned to accept the fact that we are doing our best with what we have and what we know how. We're using our intuition, following our gut and seeking the assistance we need from friends and family when we ask for it. Sure we have bumps in the road, the ups and the very downs, the fights, the happy moments, and the scary moments as we navigate through this crazy but amazing time in our lives. And through this, I’m trying to stay focused on the important things:
I was able to have a healthy child at 39 years old.
I am able to provide for my child, a comfortable home with loving parents.
I am able to get the help my child needs when he's sick or injured.
I am able to spend quality time with him when I want to.
I am able to demonstrate a loving, healthy relationship with his dad so he too can witness, learn and feel loved by observing us.
I am still learning to go easy on myself, but I am also realistic that circumstances he experiences as he grows older will challenge me, worry me and send me off into a panic attack occasionally.
As my father always says, this too shall pass.