I'd love to be able to tell you that being a parent is easy and that everything always works out in the end due to all your wonderful wisdom and advice. I'd also like to guarantee that your children will grow up to be stellar members of the community, your grandchildren will be adorable and you will secretly be taking much of the credit because in a roundabout way they did come from you.
But I can't.
What most of us don’t admit, is those times when being a parent is just awful, and we want to hand our notice in and leave them to it. Those are the days when we have no idea of what to do or say and deep down we’re hoping it will all just go away. We’re stuck and confused and have not one clue of what to do. When that happens we can be left wondering what on earth we must have done in a previous life to deserve such bad luck.
I’m thinking of situations where your children throw you a curve ball that you didn’t see coming. It could be anything from stealing, cutting class or sneaking your gin, to the more serious ones like drugs, bullying or even suicidal thoughts Those scenarios when you're left reeling from the impact and wondering how to manage, knowing all the while that your children are looking to you for advice with such confidence all you can do is smile confidently and say "It will all be ok". Knowing full well, that actually it may not be. That there’s going to be a few speed bumps ahead and it could take a few months to get over them. Here’s the thing, because we want to protect them, love them and support them through anything we will always use those platitudes. They look to us for guidance and knowledge and sometimes faking our confidence in things being okay, is enough to reassure them it will be.
Unfortunately, they don’t come with a guide book, so really you have to figure out the best way to manage what arises. One thing in your favour is that you 'yes you', are the expert on your child. You know them inside out, you know what works best for them, and you can tell in an instant when things are just not okay. I know when things have gone pear shaped for me as a mum, it’s because I didn’t listen to that inner voice, that 6th sense about the best way to proceed.
Call it instinct, call it trust, call it whatever you like, the point is you, not anyone else, do have knowledge and belief about what is best for you child.
I have no idea of how I got to manage parenting as well as I did. You see I really wasn't raised with any love or warmth at all. I was the youngest child and really was often deliberately rejected and ‘turned bad’. I know that some part of me from quite a young age decided I was going to parent differently, I was going to be a really good Mum. So that’s what I tried to learn about and do. What I observed over time was that we all parent the way we were UNLESS we choose another way.
So that became my talisman. I would learn how to be a really good parent.
Because I was so determined NOT to parent the way I was, I attended my first parenting course when my eldest was 11 months old. I know, I know.
The number one thing that stuck in my mind and still holds true today was to trust my instinct. Because we know our children so well, we are the first ones to recognise when our baby is not well, or our teenager is holding something back or our adult child is just plain miserable. So please, if you do nothing else, learn to trust your instinct. It goes hand in hand with trust beyond yourself and sometimes that is all we have.
Trust that the answer will appear
Because it will
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