A few days ago I had a really rough parenting day. It wasn’t that anything in particular happened, but it all just seemed to compound at once.
The baby woke up with a runny nose (again).
I accidentally dropped and broke a plate.
I didn’t predict how much my younger son would want a book when we went to an author book signing for my oldest son… and felt super mama guilt when he was sad afterwards. Why, oh why, hadn’t I considered how he would feel beforehand?!
When the kids got too rough with each other, I shouted.
I could go on, however what happened is actually not important.
They were all little things, in the scheme of life. And sometimes these things just happen.
But by the afternoon, I felt exhausted. Shattered, even. Like a failure.
It felt hard, even though I knew nothing in particular was a “big deal.”
And I wondered why.
I asked myself why I didn’t have it more together. Why didn’t I just go with the flow and forgive myself… move on and break the cycle of negativity.
This got me thinking about parenting, and why it is so hard. I came to the conclusion that the reason why parenting is hard is the same reason that life is hard.
We are always learning.
We are constantly being challenged.
We are figuring out how to compromise.
We lose battles we were sure we would win.
We are modifying routines to adapt to the changes.
We are addressing new stages of development.
We are making decisions based on new knowledge.
Just like our kids, we are growing.
And that takes energy.
It takes all of our minds and all of our hearts.
It takes resilience. Dusting ourselves off and trying again, even after we fall for the hundredth time.
It takes effort to learn, to adapt, to change, to try again.
There are lots of highs… watching your child master a new skill or receiving the tenth goodnight kiss. But there are lows, as well. And sometimes those lows bring us down more than we realise.
It is hard.
And it will always be hard.
We won’t be able to ever figure it all out. We won’t (unfortunately) be able to master all the techniques so everything goes smoothly.
Because living is about growing, facing the challenges, and embracing the crazy.
It’s not about waiting for the rainbow, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Having a hard time doesn’t make me a bad parent. And having a bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent, either.
I always tell my kids that tomorrow is a new day to start again. So I am telling myself that today.
Just as I wouldn’t want to yell at them and shame them when they had a difficult time or made mistakes, I need to stop being so hard on myself.
“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
It is going to be okay. I am doing my best, and that is all I can do.
I am grateful for each opportunity to try again.
How do you get through the “hard days”? Do you have a specific motto or phrase that gives you perspective?
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