There is a lot that goes into parenting or so I am learning. We all are expert parents, before we have kids, we see and pass judgement all around. Labeling the things we will NEVER do and giving advice to those situations around us, after all we are experts.
Then one day, we are thrown into battle, we leave hospitals with our new little bundles, fall in love and get a packaged deal, or have kids literally dropped off on our door step and suddenly we realize, it’s GO TIME! All of our ideas, thoughts and plans are thrown out the window, main goal at this point is to keep everyone alive.
It is in these moments when we are alone, middle of the nights, days covered with vomit, temper tantrums at the store where we work out our parenting ideology! That is where you begin to see that your ideas on parenting are shaped in the day to day, moments when you are exhausted and all you need is for whatever behavior or thing to stop. The moments you raise the white flag in surrender while bribing and pleading with your kids. We’ve all been there before, it happens to the best of us, #thestruggleisreal.
Let’s be real, parenting is hard, no matter your journey into that role. In this day in age there are so many opinions on what you should and should not do. There is also so much shaming that parents receive, everyday there is a new book, blog post, article or study done that drastically changes the course of how society “should” parent. The pendulum swing of parenting philosophies are hard to keep up with and the thoughts and opinions of others are sometimes hard to ignore.
There is a lot of pressure in parenting, I am making decisions for my kids that are based on my thoughts, experiences, preferences and opinions. I especially feel that when I am practicing “tough love” parenting, when I am teaching kids a hard lesson or following through with a hard consequence. I am currently in the middle of one of those tough love moments with one of my children.
I allowed them to make a choice that I knew at some point they would regret and had to make the choice to allow there to be some strain in our relationship for some time. I wanted to respect them and allow them to make a choice something that they haven’t gotten to do much in their lives. My crew has had a lot of things done to them with no say. In this situation with one of my children I found giving them a voice is incredibly empowering. Watching the consequences unfold as a mom, is hard. I have found the confidence and security that sometimes you just need to stand firm in things and let your kids learn by experiences instead of always just trying to help them avoid the consequences.
When I first stepped into the parenting role two years ago, I was naive, my parenting “expertise” was shaped by the years of nannying and babysitting that I did. Those experiences did for sure help and prepare me for the role of mom, but I am still learning everyday. Over my two years of being a mom, I have found the confidence in my decisions as a parent. In the beginning months of this journey, I would often feel nervous to make choices, I think part of that was lack of another adult in our home to talk about things with and the other was the fact that I did not want to do anything to my children that would further harm them. I remember I would ask opinions of others, talk it through with other parents, and seek the guidance of professionals, I felt so insecure.
Insecurity can breed some really nasty things, it can cause us to withdraw, be dishonest and avoid the hard things, I didn’t want that to be my parenting legacy. I began breaking down my insecurity by just being honest and vulnerable. Vulnerable in the fact that I did not, in fact have it figured out, I would often stand outside of a bedroom door clueless and crying as the child inside was nuclear and that I was figuring it out day by day. The key is to be willing to tweak my ideology as needed and as I learned more.
I remember the day I dealt with a hard situation without the advice or thoughts of anyone. Later, I was sharing the situation and how I responded, to my surprise I got numerous positive responses. Those were the little moments that cause me to realize that I could be confident in the decisions I make for my family, that my thoughts, experiences, preferences and opinions are maybe exactly what my kids need, God did pair us together.
I can trust the decisions I make for them balanced with always keeping my thoughts in check has helped shape my parenting style. I have made many mistakes, I have much to learn. Parenting is like many things, a journey, we don’t arrive at the finish awesome parents, without the road walked we learn it each day, in the moments that shape our day.