I was chatting with a friend the other night about how difficult it was to be a parent, no matter how rewarding, life-changing and wonderful it was. One of my girls had just had a public episode of tantrum-craziness and I felt so frustrated. We came to the conclusion that YES, parenting is hard and not just for me but for every parent. So here is a list of the top 10 things that make it or made it hard for me to parent at some point in my life.
- Not trusting your instincts. Being new at being a mother or a father doesn’t mean you don’t know what is good for your child. Believe in yourself.
- Reading too much. When Sixtine was born, I read, I read, I read, I read, and I read some more to the point that I felt so overwhelmed with information that I burnt out! It took me a while to realize that all I had to do was to do my best and it would be enough.
- Comparing your children to other children. Early talker, late walker…at the end of the day, they will all go to the bathroom by themselves, count, and distinguish letters and numbers. Where is the rush? I understood this when Victoire was born.
- Perfectionism. Come to terms with the fact that you will never be a perfect parent. And it is perfectly OK.
- Not taking care of yourself. Janet Lansbury - if you don’t know who she is, please read her blog right now, and come back to tell me how you feel. She has a very deep understanding of young children and parenting would be much harder for me if it wasn’t for her. I highly recommend buying her books for reference. She says:
If you are a sensitive person who can’t sleep deeply with your baby near you, but you’re co-sleeping because you think you should, you are not taking care of yourself.
If you want to wean your child or limit your toddler’s nursing, but you feel guilty about that, you are not taking care of yourself.
If you need to go to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, but you’re afraid to leave your fussy baby or screeching toddler, you are not taking care of yourself.
In fact, if you feel guilty about any self-care moment, you are probably not taking care of yourself.
- Thinking that everyone but you knows what they are doing. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Talk with your closest friends about those difficult times, they will most likely know what you are going through and will be able to help. They won’t judge you, and those who do are probably not your friends.
- Thinking that being busy is being important. Slow down. Right now. You do not have to fill up your precious time together doing things. Yes, it is nice to get out and experience new things as a family, it is also good for children to practice sports and be around their peers but spending time together at home, doing nothing, now that is bliss. Take the time.
- Priorities. Need I say more? If you stay in the past “I used to be able to do this and that” it is not going to work. Life has changed. Accept it. Better even, embrace it! I have become a wonderful multi-tasker. I can
almostfunction with little sleep. And I look all right without make-up on (I said all right, not great). Isn’t that wonderful?
- Isolation. We are much more isolated as parents nowadays and there is little support. There are many parents out there who would love to figure it out as a team! Reach out!
- Clutter. Less is more. Less toys, less clothes, less everything make life simpler, more peaceful and less tiring. Declutter your life and you will be a happier parent.
One last (scary) thought: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
What would you add to this list?