Parenting is hard. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. It is hard. In fact, I am now fully aware that it is the hardest thing I am going to do in this life. Then there is the reality that it only gets harder.
When I brought my Oldest home, I was petrified. I was 26 years old and was absolutely certain that the hospital would do a much better job of taking care of him than I would. It’s a baby! What if I do something wrong? I knew nothing about being a mother and it scared me. I didn’t sleep the first three nights as I was consumed with the fear that if I did, he would stop breathing. I remember my Mom saying, “Sarah, you need to remember, God is the one watching over him, you are simply here to help guide him through life”. On the fourth night I finally got some rest and those words have stuck with me ever since.
“God is the one watching over him, you are simply here to help guide him through life”
Little did I know how freaking hard guiding a human being through life was going to get and how easy it was when he was a newborn.
Fast forward and now here I am with an 11 year old, 8 year old and a 5 year old. The newborn stages are a blur at this point but I can remember one thing. It was easier. I am definitely not saying it was easy. I hated nursing, I need my sleep and boy was it exhausting. It was definitely a physically demanding stage in the life of a parent so please do not think I am knocking anyone who is challenged by this stage at all. I absolutely get it. What has switched is that the physically demanding stage has subsided (well, with the exception of being a personal uber driver for my children) and the emotional stage is definitely kicking my ass.
Bigger kids equal bigger problems. I thought I could potentially screw them up as a newborn but it is glaring me in the face that this is where I am actually afraid of screwing them up! And I am trying. The problem is, they need to learn to fail. They need to learn to make mistakes. They need to learn pain. Without learning these things they will never learn to succeed. And do you know how hard it is as a mom to let your kids fail at something? Or feel hurt? It is the absolute worst. I hear all the time about how terrible it is to be a helicopter parent but goodness it is a mom’s instinct! They forget homework on the table? You want to drive it back to school for them. A friend says something really mean to them on the playground. You want to punch that kid in the face (I know that sounds terrible but it is true). And the thing is, you can’t. You have to just be there for them when they want to talk about it, support them through it and give them the confidence that they can handle it on their own. Like I said, it is HARD.
Why am I saying all this? Because I think that sometimes we want to make it all look easy. That is also human nature. We don’t want to think about how every decision we make we are worried how it will affect our kids as adults. There is a lot of responsibility riding on us and we don’t want to think that we are doing something wrong. So we say nothing.
But here is the reality. We aren’t doing anything wrong. We are all trying our best, just like we are teaching our children to do. Just like them, we fail sometimes. And just like them, we succeed. It is important for us to share these things with each other because no one parent is perfect and we are doing everything we can. It is the hardest thing we are ever going to do but it will only be harder if we never share our own struggles with each other. So, I plan on doing a bit more of that. I figure if anything, one person out there might like to hear it and hey, it starts with one right?
But it starts here.
FACT: Parenting is HARD.
FACT: YOU are doing a great job.