August 30, 2012
The gig is hard and we all have a moment (or 57,000) when we wonder what exactly we are doing…or we have hit a limit or a wall. The thing is, we must keep going and it’s so great we have a truckload of love to see us through. Even so, I need someone to get out and help me shovel some out or find it or carry it some days.
Here are 5 things I need when I am stumbling through parenting:
1. Validate, but don’t hate too much.
Please, oh please tell me, “Of course you are feeling ______!” ”It IS hard, isn’t it?!” or whatever it is you can see in my heart…and stand in that place with me… “It IS annoying that they ___________!”, ”I don’t know why he does that, my man/kid does it too….” BUT I don’t need a whole lot of kid/partner bashing. It just makes me feel bad later because I really do love those people… and while it’s so natural and normal to get sick of each other and express it, I don’t want to live in that place.
2. Tell me a story.
Tell me a story of your experience, failure and triumph, the funnier and more honest, the better. It doesn’t have to be my same problem and there doesn’t have to be a solution but it makes me feel less alone and more connected.
3. Don’t tell me to read the book, just cliff note it for me!
Unless it’s DEFCON 4 and you just know that book will save my parenting ass, skip the suggestion and just tell me the best parts of the book. I have zippo time to read but am so open to any wisdom anyone has to offer. Also, remind me of all the development stuff I forgot that actually explains everything and tells me my kid is normal- and that I have forgotten it’s all part of growing and learning for both of us. Or tell me parenting books suck and just follow my intuition.
4. Remind me what you (and I) love about my kid.
Remind me of all the magical parts of my kid… “I know she is driving you crazy now, but remember when…?”. Tell me what you love about her, and stand in my gap for just a minute. Offering to take her for a bit so I can regroup will score you extra “being the village” friend points. It will also makes me want to climb mountains to do the same for you.
5. Believe in me as a parent.
Tell me to take care of myself, remind me I am and want to be a good parent, be gentle with my mistakes but also believe in me enough to give the gentle nudge to keep going, or own my own shit, or ask a thoughtful question filled with grace. I don’t want to be around other mothers to just complain together, I want to be around people that also make me want to be a better parent.
and when in doubt, bring chocolate (or vodka) and quiet love.
*this little list was inspired by christa, jen b. and jen l. who do this for me day in and day out…much love.
What do you need when all is falling apart in your parenting world? or it’s just been a shitty day with lots of mistakes and love/care attempts?