5 things i need when i am struggling as a parent…

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?

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11 Responses to “5 things i need when i am struggling as a parent…”

  1. northernchick Says:

    I remember how important my friend with little kids were to me when my roommates were little. So important. If you love your kids wholeheartedly you are doing a good job. And such a tough rewarding one at that. Great list!

  2. Lisa Says:

    i love #1 – not laying on the hate. my husband and kid drive me nutso sometimes, but this is the family of my choosing/making and the most precious thing in my life. nothing fires me up (and puts me on the defensive) like someone bashing what i work so hard on. i would say, let me bash away and remind me how much i am loved by these insane boys but DON’T join me in the hate.

  3. TM Mitchell Says:

    Me? I just need to be heard, and maybe a pat on the back or a hug to make it through those kind of parenting patches. More times than not, some quiet time fixes all the crazy in my head when I don’t feel completely up to par. I love your list! You continue to inspire….

  4. Donna Says:

    I need people, mainly other moms in person. I need to not have to just take care of myself. I have been doing this all my life as well as emotionally taking care of my childhood family. I am sorely lacking in physical presence community and it feels lonely. Need a tribe. Need community. Not sure why this never seems to happen naturally and I also am not clear on how to make it happen! Ideas are welcome.

  5. Christa Says:

    P~ I’m so appreciative and happy to walk this parenting journey with you. I admire your
    Parenting and the love you all share.

  6. Sara Says:

    For me, I just need someone to say, “don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” whatever “it” is. Whether its a load of laundry, a moment alone to be thankful for all I have, or just something as simple as a glass of cold water at the end of the day when I’m too tired to get it myself. That says love more than anything. That is a reward more than anything.

  7. Brenda Says:

    I love your list. I wish I would have thought of it. It reminded me to be more reflective of life especially in/after the moments that are the hardest. Usually I’m running so fast…AWAY from those crazy moments, that I don’t take the time to be reflective. I love that you are…for two reasons…because you write what I think is pretty spot-on to how I feel and what I want after the crazy moments AND it feels so nice to know that at least one other person feels the way I do sometimes.
    Thank you.

  8. amy Says:

    a break. to remind me how good I really have it.

  9. Maura Says:

    Reading your work makes my heart sing! Your writing is very real, insightful, gentle, and helps me to forgive my screw ups, especially with my children. Whatever you write will be great. Believe. It would be fun to gather women’s ideas/tips/sweet things we do with our children to create happy memories and intertwine it with your writing.
    Many thanks.

  10. Amy Says:

    You spoke to my heart. Motherhood, the most rewarding and frustrating job there is 🙂 You have a lovely blog. I’m a new to it, but you’ve got me hooked. Have a great day!

  11. Donna Says:

    Simply awesome…as frustrating and exhilarating as parenting can be, I know, without a doubt, that my four beautiful kids are the best work I have done in this lifetime…even when I just want to go to my room and cry 🙂


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