Recently an acquaintance at the farmers market admitted to me that she doesn’t like children. “I am too lazy.” she said, and I agreed. “Sure, children are hard work. But without my kid this planet just doesn’t make any sense.” She made large eyes, speechless and I got the impression stating my honest truth rocked her world.
Well, when I wanted to be a mother (spur of the moment idiocy), and tried with my then husband, I instantly got pregnant. I practically ordered her on ebay. It was too fast and I freaked out, for months. Eleven years later I am more than grateful that I threw myself into that volcano pit of fire, getting lost in that labyrinth or parenthood and haven’t come out yet. In fact I wish I could prolong it. They grow up so fast…
Yes, I can confirm, there is no book: the true rules of parenting because it’s simple: there are no rules, and most parents agree. Each kid should come with instructions, but apparently they don’t, so it’s like a treasure hunt, or being lost in a maze of diapers and tantrums.
So it’s commonly established that being a parent does not stand for pure bliss. It’s so much more. It’s fun and exhausting, it’s refreshing and stressful. It means being angry, triggered, helpless, and utterly in love. Yes, the journey of being a Mum appears to be a magical roller coaster and sometimes I don’t know if I should laugh, cry or scream. Well, it turns out I can do all three things at the same time. What can I say? I’m talented.
Mentally, physically and emotionally, I so often got stretched beyond of what I thought is possible. I discovered nerves I didn’t know I had about cut off fringes, and came across the surprise of not freaking out about stolen candy from the store, while one little word in public like ‘semen’ coloured my face dark red.
And then there are times when we parents just suck. Yes, sometimes parenting sucks, especially when we’re stuck in one emotional state: confusion. When we simply do not comprehend what’s going on for our kids. Why they act the way they do. And to let you on a secret? Neither do they.
And what’s worse: we can’t stop them or ourselves from acting the way we do and patterns we always tried to avoid emerge… So there’s that. We behave just like our own parents… Hm, sure I feel very blessed with my child and love her to bits. I really do. But she drives me berserk sometimes. That’s the truth. So after 11 1/2 years of parenting I came to the conclusion our kids are meant to trigger any possible trauma button in us. That seems to be a given. So if I listen and am open to learn, she actually serves and teaches me, that little devil?
Having long given up being the perfect mother I had to accept the human in me with all buttons and issues. I mean it’s really tough to give up your life for someone, to live basically multiple times, them and myself, and whoever had kids knows I am right. You give up everything. Unless you’re a hippy parent who takes their toddlers everywhere: concerts, pubs. May their sleep and rhythm be damned. But even then does parenting demand a lot from you. Too much I think. Set up for failure we parents are…So what happens when we mothers and fathers do bad parenting? What do we give up besides the commonly known things like going to the bathroom by ourselves or the commodity of sleep?
My Bad Parenting Confessions
Confession #1. I freaked out about being a Mum. I had no good models I could draw from and dealt with depression and PTSD at the time so when falling pregnant having a little human being to take care of was beyond scary.
Confession #2. Once she was born I felt like I had lost many choices of what I rather wanted to do. I really didn’t feel like doing parenting 24/7. I wanted to cook, write, do art and have a life, not to give up all my time, my life, for someone else. I had done that in my childhood, taking care of my siblings and my mother.
Confession #3. I made the mistake of treating my daughter as an equal and for years got a real brat in return. It resulted in my own childhood traumas seeming never to count in my family, never being seen or allowed to be me. And as a Mum I wanted to do it ALL differently…hehe. Hm, extremes apparently don’t work, ever and so it turns out whatever you do, you’ll f#@k up as a parent. Stop trying so hard, is good advice.
Confession #4. Sure, my child made me a proud parent of a truly amazing human being, creative, smart, beautiful and so switched on, but sometimes I didn’t like me or her. Because she just doesn’t see reason or really doesn’t listen and makes me scream, saying things I instantly regret – that brat.
Confession #5. For a long time I was scared that I raise a bitch, and that her behaviour reflected who I am, or was, like a mirror. What would people think of me? (well, screw them).
My Consolations as a Human (who also happens to be a parent)
Consolation #1. It all changes and changes again – them and us. It is so temporary, being a parent and the sacrifices we make, and going with the flow seems to be the answer in most cases (of course, I guide that flow a bit :-D). I’ve got one word to say to you: Dora the Explorer. hehe – And yes, it will change…
Consolation #2. They forget that you didn’t always like them and screamed at them more than you want to admit. They really do. And so did I. My guilt and disappointment about NOT being Super Mom is overrated and nowadays I make do without.
Consolation #3. I can always make-up, apologize and be the best Mum of the world (again). They know we try real hard when we show we are humans too. And that’s how we built trust with one another, and trust is everything. Let’s be clear: we’re raising future friends. At least that’s what I do. remember? There are no rules to this adventure.
Consolation #4. The older they get, the more freedom I get back in return. Also, the easier it seems to become to be a parent (at least for me). To communicate with one another, to make choices together, to laugh together (crying and wincing also gets less… phew). We can do activities together I actually enjoy and am not bored out of my mind faking to love it. Have you heard of Care bears or the Wiggles? No? Lucky you.
Consolation #5. Turns out I like my kid more than I dislike her, so that’s a plus… hahaha. Maybe I did an overall better job than I initially thought. She seems to be nice – most of the times. She even made me brekki this morning. True story.
Good on you for trying. That’s all we can do, and when failing (and that only in your own books), get up and try again. Have compassion with yourself. We are not trained to live two or more lives, but yet we do when having a child.
And keep the goal in mind: a child that feels loved, and can trust her parents understands that we are humans. Especially those annoying parents.