I found myself at a playdate. Not unusual really. I am a rather social being and the thought of escaping my house with my small offspring is always appealing. What I did not expect was to enter the playdate and find that not in my age but the age of my children, I was the ranking elder. Quickly changing my position from the parent that is asking questions and gathering information to the one that was giving the information. It was weird. What I found myself saying shocked the group but hopefully rocked their world in a way I hope to rock yours.
I stopped parenting. No you did not read that wrong. I stopped parenting and so did my husband. It was a terrible awful thing so we decided that we would just stop doing it. Fellow parents can I get an amen on how ridiculously hard it is to be a parent? It was not a stand on the roof tops and shout, I STOPPED PARENTING, kind of thing. It came in small moments of reevaluation and utterances of, It should not be this hard. You can all laugh, judge and wonder about this radical decision, but it was honestly one of the best decisions we have ever made.
When we were becoming parents thoughts of grandeur filled our pretty little heads. We were those first time parents that everyone was laughing at and that I now inwardly laugh at. Yes first time parent, I am deeply sorry, but I am laughing at you. We have all done it. The…
-My kid will never do enter unthinkable thing here.
-Oh I would surely die if my child enter grossest thing you can think of here.
-I will never tell my kid enter thing you swore you would never say to your kid.
-I will always have time, never get overwhelmed, never loose my cool and just rock this parenting thing. I have spent my life with children or read every book I can get my hands on or talked to every parent I could. I have got this.
I hate to break it to you but you will do all these things and I already have so, let’s just move on.
Sadly, parent has become this label we slap on ourselves once we birth another human and attached to it unachievable standards. These standards then lead to articles being written to parents feeling less than worthy everywhere and then passed on to their friends. Together sitting at their computer screens sighing relief while thinking amen, preach! I am just as guilty finding this article completely refreshing and passing it on to a mom to be. My deep dark secrets of parenting finally revealed and validated by another parent struggling with the same thing. Only they were bold enough to say it out loud.
Parent-A person who has a child
Parenting- The process of taking care of a child until they are able to take care of themselves.
Somewhere along the line we have lost the simplicity of the above definitions. Parent and parenting has gone from having and caring for a child to unbelievable pressure, stress and standards. We are all lost in a world of activities, ideas, things to do, things to not do, things to not eat, signs to watch out for and never ending information right at our finger tips. Left to sort through it all and some how apply it in the quest to raise our children with effectiveness and no room for failure. The questions endless and the stress just as much, turning parenting, which was already hard, into the hardest job ever with burn out not an option.
Is my child talking soon enough?
Should they be eating gluten?
Is three to early for school?
Are they involved in enough things?
Are we socializing them enough?
They just licked the car covered in salt! Does that mean they have pica!?!?!?
My kid flips out over everything, does not listen and is really flipping hard…should they be evaluated?
We stopped parenting…well this worlds definition of parenting and when we did, this parenting thing got slightly better. It did not get easier by any means we are working with small people that are all their own. What did happen was a more realistic perspective and achievable goal came in on the wake of the decision to not parent as we all know today. We started living with, learning from and loving on our children.
Living with our children instead of living around them. It is so easy to get caught up with all the things that have to get done. The going to work, cleaning the house, paying the bills, endless to do’s and activities. Often times finding ourselves rushing through from one thing to another, wondering where time went and if we got anything done. The action of sending the children off to play, letting them watch tv or play on their electronic device so you can just get stuff done, happens all to frequently. Inviting your children to live your life with you is a much better example. If we can pull off our bossy parent hat for a moment, walk through life with them, the results will be drastically different. No one likes being told what to do. I do not like being told what to do. Quite frankly I am bossy and enjoy doing the telling of what needs to be done. If I can reign in my inner boss, walk with my children at their pace, when the moments come that telling needs to be done they will be better received.
Learning from our children. Is there any better way to parent then to walk with your child and really learn who they are? How they think? What they do? How they react and what really means the most to them. Our oldest is a difficult child and it is nothing short of a Christmas miracle she is alive today. Or maybe it is a Christmas miracle I am still alive today. I am not sure which one. Some day she will read this and understand that it was not just her that made life difficult, it was us. In her school we would be getting all the assistance we could get because we just were not getting it. Slow learning 101. When our heads were pulled out of clouds, our eyes off of the never ending difficult kid articles and we just got to know our oldest…parenting got better. We had greater understanding on why things were happening and could work on the how to get through the things that were happening. She had, more than ever before, an understanding that we were not ruining her life. Even though she still feels this way and does not hesitate to tell us. She does understand quicker that we were trying to teach her, equip her, guide her and not ruin her. We will never arrive either of us. I will still feel like I am failing and she will still feel like I am ruining everything. It will be a continual learning process of her about us and us from her.
Loving on our children. Some times this comes really easy and some times it does not. We have probably all heard of The 5 Love Languages and if you haven’t go check it out. The basic idea is that we all love and feel loved in different ways. If someone is not loving you in a way that makes you feel loved, then simply put, you won’t feel that they love you. Our darling children have love languages as well. I frequently miss the boat and I will be honest about that. The way that I am skilled at showing others my love is NOT the way that two of my children feel loved. The way two of my children show their love is NOT the way that makes me feel loved! Talk about a revamping of my mind and heart towards them. It is a continual process of teaching myself how to love them and for them how to love me. I like that they tell me they love me BUT I feel loved when they obey right away and do what I told them. Teaching our children this essential skill of really knowing others so that you can love on them will be a life long lesson to put in the books. Never ending and always changing.
This parenting thing that every one talks about and tries to do is for the birds. Frankly, I am over it. I just won’t do it. What I will do is simply be for my kids. I will be with them when I can. I will be loving in the way they need when I can figure that out. I will not be perfect, I will make mistakes and say sorry for them. I will be a teacher when they need and equip myself to know how to do so. I will just be a partner in their lives. Together we can just be.