Parenting IS Hard!

Parenting IS Hard!

Why is being a parent so darned hard? If you are one, you know. If you try to explain it to anyone else, they may not get it.

Parenting is seemingly full of easy, mundane tasks, but somehow it adds up to something that is, somehow, difficult. Change a diaper, make them lunch, help them study, run an errand, none of these things seem too hard.

And yet… the exhaustion, the craziness, the loss of sanity, the doubts, the I-can’t-do-it and the everyone-else-is-doing-it-better… It can be difficult to explain why it’s so hard…

Maybe if we take a moment to think about what makes something seemingly so easy so incredibly hard, we wouldn’t feel like we’re losing our minds. And maybe we could even think of some ways to make it at least seem a little easier.

1.      The Learning Curve

Before you left the hospital for the first time you had no real idea of what you were going to do, the Dr. was able to get your baby to stop crying and you couldn’t. But, as he reassured you, in 24 hours, you will be the expert on your baby. No one will know them better. It was true. The learning curve is steep—you know nothing and then you suddenly know everything. Except: the learning curve stays steep—you know nothing repeatedly. Think you’re doing a good job at this parenting gig? Just wait a week… or even just a few minutes… and you’re bound to fall flat on your face. Again!

What are you going to do? Enjoy the times when things are going great and know that you can do this. Also know that there will be bumps in the road but you will find an answer.

2.      Share your Experiences

Parents sometimes feel like if they say something about their child others may talk about them or they don’t want others to think their child is different or weird. You’re going through something—yelling too much, worrying that your kid’s obsession with YouTube is going to turn him into a weird, basement-dwelling collector of stupid toys, that sort of thing, you know, just for example—and you don’t tell anyone about it. Which makes you feel like the only one. Which makes you feel like a failure. No one else is telling you about their inability to get their kids out of their pajamas before 4 pm, so you’re not going be the first to confess.

Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and concerns. Storytelling saves lives! Sharing your struggles might just bring another parent back from the brink. And sometimes that other parent will be you.

3.      Your Baggage is Heavy

All the ideas that we internalized as kids, the ones we didn’t even know we had until we became parents, not all of those ideas are good ones. And they’re super hard to shake Not a single one of us was parented perfectly and we carry that with us—sometimes repeating it, sometimes obsessing over not doing things the way they were for us. We remember how we were taught or shown how to do something by our own parents and this is what we know, right or wrong.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The internet is a huge resource of knowledge to be used. Search and find the things that will work for you to help you with your children and to make your parenting skills much less heavy than they need to be.

4.      It’s Okay

Parenting wouldn’t feel half as hard if we didn’t feel all the shoulds, all the time. Some come from strangers, “Your baby really should be crawling by now,” but a lot of what we think is coming from outside is just a loud echo in our own brain.

My seven-year-old really should know how to ride a bike by now. I really should spend more time reading with them at bedtime. I really should be home for every sick day, make it to every end-of-the-week performance, get down on the floor and play, shoot I forgot that birthday they were invited to because it got lost in my email, let them do more on their own, make sure they get outside to play every time the sun shines… It. Never. Ends.

It’s Okay, you can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. There are times when you need to understand that you’re going to mess up, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s Okay!

5.      Kids can be Crazy

At least that’s how it seems, right? There are times when they want to read forever then they don’t even want to touch a book. They are tiny little dictators (narcissism) with unpredictable mood swings (bi-polar) afraid of the most absurd things (anxiety) and crying at the drop of a hat (depression). Or rather, over the color of their plate at lunch or how you promised you’d do that thing you totally did not promise to do. At least as far as you can remember.

Kids are not adults—they are not reasonable, they can’t be talked to as if logic is gravity and agreed upon by everyone, and they will often make absolutely no sense at all. Well actually, maybe they are exactly like adults….LOL

When you’re experiencing things like this it is important to just take that deep breath and realize that your child isn’t perfect, you are learning right along with them. And of course, they like to press your buttons to see how far they can go before you get upset. They are actually quite smart. Don’t let them outsmart you! Learn to step away, take a deep breath, gather your composure, then go back and deal with the situation.

6.   It’s Okay to See Them Fail

It’s okay to let your children make mistakes, feel disappointment, experience failure. As a matter of fact you will be doing your children a service to allow these things to happen. Help them to get through and understand that these types of things are going to happen more often than not.

Many parents try to protect their children from experiencing these things, and sometimes it’s okay to protect them, but don’t put your kids in a bubble and don’t be afraid to let them fail. You need to teach them to get right back up after getting knocked down and never give up. That’s what amazing parents do.

7.   No Exit

You can’t run away but you can take time for yourself. You need to be able to relax and get away sometimes, this is okay too. Make sure to get some quiet time, go for a walk, read a book, go shopping, go golfing, go for a run, go to the gym. Whatever it is that lets you relax, you NEED this.

8.   No Parent is Perfect

You are going to make mistakes, it IS going to happen and probably happen more than once. Do your best to learn from your mistakes, but remember, these are children and they do things that are different, ALL THE TIME.

They do things to irritate you, they don’t really know what they are doing most of the time but they certainly manage to do it, am I right?

So just remember that your children rely on you to be a parent. It’s not easy, it’s never going to be, but if you just keep learning, keep things in perspective, at the end of the day I bet most people would commend you for a job well done.

You really are a great parent, sometimes you just need a little perspective to realize how great you are!

Yours Truly for Awesome and Amazing Kids,

Sensei Randy Kopke


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