Was there ever a time that parenting seemed easy?
I feel like B.K. (Before Kids) we all have an idea of what parenting should look like, or at the very least what parenting should not look like.
We make those judgments based on our own upbringing, our friends’ upbringing, and maybe even how we watch some of our own friends raise their own kids if we get old enough to where that happens.
I’d be a far better parent to my kids if I didn’t have any children.
I’d be strict, not for stupid shit, but I’d run a tight ship.
I’d have morning and evening routines in place and they’d get done, rain or shine, happy or not, daily.
I’d use the word no liberally and yes conservatively.
I know there’s a movement now to never say ‘no’ to your children and come up with alternative ways to say no/direct them in another direction. I’m not getting into any parenting philosophies here- I’m solely saying how I’d parent if I didn’t have children. Therefore, without children, I wouldn’t be aware of trending parenting-osophies.
Kids would never sleep in my room unless there were extraordinary circumstances.
I’d have weekly game nights and movie nights to keep the family attached and connected.
I’d make them home cooked, from scratch, meals daily and make sure they were taking vitamins daily.
But the truth is….
Life isn’t so linear or just a list of tasks to be done.
It’s messy and has more loops than a rollercoaster.
All of us do the best we can with what we are given.
Part of all of that is our personality, our values, our life experience, and our deeply rooted motivations.
None of us has this parenting game down.
And that’s because it’s not a game.
It didn’t come with a set of rules or a referee to keep us in check,
Instead it’s a learn-as-you-go and resource what you can, from the best sources you’re able to find.
For some of us that’s family, friends, books, even the internet.
Whatever it is, we are all doing the best we can (barring abuse and neglect) with what we’ve been given.
I find that, for me, doing my best involves embracing my natural strengths and weaknesses.
Taking stock of our intrinsic nature and the world around us that either supported or denied our most basic essence is beyond valuable in understanding the journey forward within ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Taking stock of these things is a first step, actually implementing the things we need to get back to who we are beneath the armor of ego we’ve built up around our essence is another story.
That is the work of parenting, letting go of our ego so we can be present, engaged, and honorable guides to these little people who’ve been entrusted to us.
That, however, isn’t only the work of parenting.
It is the work of being human.
To let go.
To be present.
To be engaged.
To be honorable stewards and guides in this world.