Thursday, March 26, 2015

Parenting Isn't Easy

I think the other reason why we think we're doing parenting wrong is because it's hard. If we were doing it right, it would be easy, wouldn't it?

The thing is, parenting is hard work. Even on the days when everything goes right, parenting is hard work. Even when the sun is shining, parenting is hard work. Even when the kids are behaving, parenting is hard work.


But we do it. We go to bed, tired and worn out (and probably too late) and we get up the next morning tired and worn out and we do it again. And again. And again.

I think it's important to tell ourselves that parenting is hard work. That maybe it's supposed to be hard. That maybe we don't need anything fixed, that we're not doing anything wrong, we don't need to tweak anything, that it's just hard. But you're still doing a good job.

Parenting is hard because it is physically tiring. Our kids have boundless energy and require near-constant attention. Some of them don't sleep through the night. Some of them are going through a difficult phase. Some of them have been going through a difficult phase since birth. Some of them are high-spirited. All of them want us to play with them, to get down on our hands and knees or to run and chase them or to go outside to the park.

Parenting is hard because it is mentally tiring. We read books and articles, and discuss it with our friends. We learn like we are preparing for the biggest exam of our life, except that there are multiple textbooks and they don't always agree with each other. We create a plan of action, and wonder as it plays out if this was the right course. And then we wonder if our problem is all this flip-flopping. Just as we're getting the hang of things, everything changes, requiring new research into new problems.

Parenting is hard because it is emotionally tiring. We walk around every day with our hearts outside our bodies. We worry about all the bad things that can happen to our children, and if we're one of them. We worry that we love them too much, and they'll grow up to be over-entitled spoiled brats, or that we don't love them enough, and they'll grow up to be (fill the the blank with your worst nightmare).

Why do we pretend parenting is easy when it's not? Why do we beat ourselves up for working a hard job, instead of congratulating ourselves for it? Parenting is hard work. Good on you for doing it, however you're doing it.

For Further Thought:

1) Do you equate easy with right and hard with wrong? What would you say to your child who thought that because they were having a hard time with something, they were doing it wrong?

2) How do you acknowledge the hard work that you do?

3) In what ways do you compare yourself with other people who seem to find parenting easy? In what ways do you think that other parents might think you find parenting easy?

For Further Reading:

Every Chance to Learn: Why Modern Parenting is Hard
Barbara Vogelgesang: Sometimes Being a Parent is Just Plain Hard
Finding Joy: Dear Mom Letters
Deciphering Morgan: Parenting is Hard
Core Parenting: The Parenthood FairyTale
Happiness is Here: Gentle Parenting Isn't Meant to be Easy

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