I thought about this question and whether I had the courage to truly answer it. Whether I was brave enough to write it down. If my wins were outweighing my sense that I am just never quite the parent I want to be.
wanting to be perfect
never feeling quite good enough.
effort that’s hard to measure with immediate reward
obliterating who you thought you were and realising you don’t have a clue
hope that tomorrow is a new day
soul destroying tiredness with a willingness to go on
guilt that you don’t want to play with them
unhappiness with your performance
a head fuck of eating regimes and screen time allowance and unreasonable expectations put on you from schools
laughter and giggles and letting go
touch and soft skin and big breaths
delight as you get to know your little people
a willingness to always be better than who you were the day before
being in that moment
obligation and responsibility and duty
is the act of always thinking we should be better. More even-tempered. More playful. Less scatty. More grown-up.
never measuring up to our own standards of what it should look like
failing everyday but getting up to do it all over again, for love
never saying what we truly feel … to anyone…because then we’d feel shame – shame that we don’t love every minute. Shame that we’re not handling everything quite so well as we think others are.
the need to parent ourselves, care for ourselves, give love to ourselves
seeing your child forgive your faults so easily and wishing you too had that ability
becoming defunct in the world and everything at home
The truth hurts but it sets you free. Looking at this list reminds me that it is only my own expectations that are truly getting in the way of being the Mum I want to be. To my kids I already am that Mum. To everyone else I’m doing a kick-ass job because the results speak for themselves.
Kids who are safe. Kids who are healthy. Kids who are happy.
You have to be aware of it to know. You have to be aware to change.
If you don’t put that label on things. “This feeling is good. I’m not supposed to think this way, feel this way because it’s bad.”
If everything just is.
If parenting just is.
Then we can sit back and watch the feelings come and go with ease.
As the Sufi poet Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
He also said, “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
We don’t need to know anything really. All our analysis, judgment and comparison has got us nowhere but confused.
The only thing I really do know, without a doubt, is that the love I have for my kids will lead me where I need to go.
What is parenting to you? Add to my list if you feel the need.