The first week of every month I ask a series of parental questions in hopes to gain insight on different perspectives. Discussions can include things like every day struggles, our roles as parents, and who we are as individuals. My hopes are to diminish the judgments we place on other parents. To open up dialogue on individual experiences so we can come together. Let us talk without passing judgement, walk a mile in each other’s shoes, and become more aware of our fellow parent’s struggles. If you would like to join in on the conversation, join me next month @messymama18 on Twitter. I would love to hear from you.
When I became pregnant I was absolutely amazed about this miracle that was taking place in my own body. Something that had been happening since the beginning of time seemed so out of this world, and I was a part of it. It was extraordinary, it was beautiful, and it was very scary. Not only was I overwhelmed by the whole experience, but I was also very nervous. I was building a living, breathing creature that my husband and I would have complete responsibility over. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. When she was born, I could not believe that the medical staff just handed her over to me and that was that. My husband and I made a little person and now we had to keep her alive.
Not only alive, we are responsible for turning her into a decent human being. Beyond the never-ending anxious feeling that something terrible could happen to my baby, another frightening idea is wondering what type of person she is going to be. Trying to effectively parent while trying not to lose my mind has been extremely difficult. In the last seven months, I have discovered that parenthood is extremely hard. For my husband and me, it is just the beginning. I am not the only one who feels this way. We are all frantically trying to figure parenting out and it’s relieving to know that the struggle is very, very real.
Our crusades as parents are all different, but relatively similar at the same time. Some parents struggle with sleep training, some struggle with their children’s behaviors, some parents struggle more with finding themselves while other parents are focused on trying to connect with their kids. Maybe raising kids comes easy for some parents but it’s their relationship with each other they are struggling with, maybe it is vice versa or maybe its both. Maybe some parents have a child with special needs or battling an illness. Our hardest struggles vary from parent to parent and child to child.
Some of us struggle with our roles as parents. Are we making the right decisions for our children? For Caitlin, it’s speaking up for her son. Does she trust her intuition as her child’s parent or does she listen to professionals? Is she stepping on toes by advocating or is she doing the right thing for her child? In the end, her mom-tuition proved correct and her son is benefiting from it.
As we raise our children, we learn to trust our ability to make the right decisions. Trying to do what is right for our kids also expands to how we raise our children.
Teaching our children valuable life lessons, responding to inappropriate behavior and how we discipline our children all falls into our roles as parents. How do we effectively react to our children’s negative behavior without damaging them in the process? How do we remain in control of the situation and ourselves? A common struggle many parents face. We may not all agree on how we discipline our children or what strategies we use to raise our children, but we can all agree that it isn’t easy.
Sometimes we battle with how we wish we could handle certain situations. Sometimes we forget that we are humans when we feel like we made a mistake. Sometimes we forget that our children have yet to master adult concepts. When asked what the greatest struggle in parenthood has been, Ryan from Dad Fiction responds with, “Expecting them to comprehend like adults do and getting impatient/frustrated when they don’t.” It is our responsibility, as parents, to help our children maneuver their way into adulthood, one little lesson at a time.
Sometimes, our children need special care and our roles as parents depend on the needs of our children. Or our families are not a classic set up. How do we get through our parenting struggles when our lives are out of the ordinary or are not typical situations? How do we parent effectively while also minding the special care that our family has to receive?
For some, it isn’t necessarily our role as parents, but continuing our roles as partners, siblings, children, workers, home owners, etc. We are not only parents after we have kids, yet it feels like our entire lives revolve around our children. How do we continue our roles as everything else? In her blog, My Hardest Struggle Becoming A Parent, Cassandra discusses her struggle with continuing her role as a wife after she became a mother.
“ The first three months has as a mother was everything and nothing that I imagined. That however wasn’t or isn’t the hardest struggle for me. Falling into the mother role was a lot easier than falling into the wife role. Now that I’m both -it seems harder to be a wife. ” Cassandra, My Hardest Struggle Becoming A Parent, Green Locd Momster
Our roles as individuals change once we have kids. Sometimes we lose ourselves and spend many years searching for who we are now as parents. This has been my greatest struggle. Trying to hold on to who I use to be while discovering who I am now as a mom. There is not a second that goes by that I don’t appreciate the wonderful gift that God has given me. My job as my child’s mother is the most important role I will ever play, but that doesn’t mean I have to let go of all the other roles. It is reassuring to know that many other parents feel the same way.
Beltwaymom @Reinalyn407 tweets that her struggle is, “Remembering who I was before I was a mom and remembering to take care of her too.”
Raising kids is not easy, as my fellow parents all claim. I am in no way experienced, but I am beginning to understand the struggles. Lack of sleep, exhaustion, and guilt seem to be components of receiving your parent badge. That, however, is just a piece of it. There’s so much that goes into caring for and raising kids and we don’t fully understand it unless we have been there, right? This is something we don’t generally think about when we decide we want to have kids or even when we become pregnant.
The truth is, we never know what we are going to be faced with once our child is born. Different children require different types of parenting so none of us are really professionals if we think about it. All of our struggles are different, but at the end of the day were all trying to achieve the same thing, raise beautiful, kind, and healthy babies the best that we can. I believe our different struggles bring us together as parents because to some level, we understand each other.
Here are some other very real parent struggles:
How about you? What is your greatest struggle as a parent?