Apr 11, 2018

Any Parents out there?

8 comments

Edited: Apr 13, 2018

One of the most challenging responsibilities that I have ever willfully chosen to take on has been becoming a parent. There is nothing in this world that can simultaneously bring you more joy and make you want to bang your head against a wall than your own children. The best example I can give of this is my favorite story involving my daughter and it sums up the child rearing process in a nutshell. When she was about 2 years old I walked into the living room to find her drawing on the living room wall. We only gave them washable crayons, so it was not a huge deal, (Parenting Tip #1 – ONLY buy washable crayons) but I wanted to let her know that this was not the appropriate place to draw. So, I calmly and gently told her that we do not draw on walls and I offered her some paper. I went to the kitchen to prepare snacks for everyone and when I came back out I found her drawing on the wall again! So once again, I very calmly and gently explained to her why we do not draw on walls and showed her the things that were appropriate to draw on, such as paper, dry erase boards, chalk boards, coloring books, etc. She seemed to get the point this time so I returned to the kitchen feeling proud of myself for maintaining my calm and loving demeanor. As I finished preparing snacks, I placed them on the dining table and went to the living room to round up the troops to come eat. (Parenting Tip #2 – Don’t forget snack time! Children are like Gremlins. It can get ugly if you let them get hungry!) At this point I’m sure you can guess what my daughter was up to when I returned to the living room. This time I made the conscious decision to speak in a much sterner voice and I said, “Mila, I’ve asked you not to draw on the walls please. If I see you drawing on the walls again, I’m going to take your crayon away.” Upon hearing this, my daughter looks me straight in the eye and without ever breaking eye contact with me, reaches over and draws one more line on the wall …..then hands me the crayon and walks away!

 

Needless to say, I was speechless. I had all kinds of conflicting emotions running through my brain. On one hand I was furious, but on the other I was kind of proud of her for the flair with which she expressed her defiance. On top of all that, how could you not laugh at a little person displaying such an attitude. …..AND I was probably late with the snacks and I know that transitions are difficult for children, so asking her to stop doing something that she was right in the middle of without helping her transition was asking for a bit too much from a 2 year old. Thankfully, I know this. I know this because I speak to other parents and my wife has participated in countless “Mommy and Me” groups and we’ve been in several toddler programs. Trying to be the best parent you can be can be extremely stressful. Parents need support and education and to be able to share their experiences with other parents who understand what they are going through. I think that OOTify will be an invaluable resource for parents to connect with other stressed out parents or even therapists who can support them in the impossible task of raising children.

 

So, if there are any parent’s out there, share your stories and frustrations and let’s lift each other up and help each other through this wonderfully stressful thing called parenthood.

Apr 13, 2018

Mike, thanks for sharing this post. As a recent parent, I can't express in words how much this resonates with me. I'll try! There are times with my 8 week old, I'm running on fumes from sleep deprivation and get edgy with those around me. I realize it right away. I know it's unacceptable and I apologize, push myself to get some rest and continue the journey. It's been a crazy 8 weeks, but the joy that I get from being a parent is unmatched. Much respect to all parents - it's a tough role.

Thank you for your comment, Ravi. I vaguely remember when my kids were 8 weeks old. You are still adjusting to the gravity of the role of being a parent and trying to juggle all of your other responsibilities. It is an exciting and exhausting time filled with all kinds of amazing "firsts". I'm not going to give you the line that I got all the time: "It get's easier." In my experience, it doesn't get easier ......or harder. It just changes. Raising a 1, 2 or 3 year old still has it's challenges but they are very different. The best advice I can give you is to be mindful and in the moment. Pay attention to what is going on with yourself internally and try to be in the moment. Those moments fly by. As one of the more influential thinkers of my generation once said:

 

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Apr 13, 2018

Michael your story made me smile. I have a 5 year old ‘spirited’ child and it’s very hard to encourage her independence and spirit - just not with me ;) i find it to be the most frustrating when she’s acting like me... there’s no mirror quite like the little people you are raising. I have embraced the goal of being a ‘good enough’ parent who has high expectations but also warmth and empathy for the very difficult journey that is childhood (emotions and socialization and separating from your caregivers). I find myself losing my patience more often than I’d like to admit but I also try to be compassionate toward myself because parenthood is also hard!

Apr 14, 2018

My wife and I definitely want kids but we're holding off a few more years until we're closer to being ready. I know people always say "you're never really ready" but we're going to try to be as much as we can. We only got married a few years ago so we're trying to enjoy these years together as much as possible until we take the leap.

 

#saveferris

Apr 14, 2018

I have two little ones (one is 5, one is 8) - both are strong willed and know their own minds. I identify so closely with the story above. My daughter wears makeup almost everywhere she goes while I wear nearly none. I fought her on her recent obsession and yet realized after several weeks it doesn't really matter if she has crazy lip gloss on to go to the store, she's expressing herself. While I want her to be my version of a studious young lady she is teaching me every single day that feminism comes in all forms - sometimes it takes the shape of a 5 year old in blue eyeshadow. Thank you for sharing your story - it helps to know we're not alone in parent-land!

Apr 14, 2018

Haha - kalavez, I remember when my daughter was a baby I fought against the pink that is thrust upon baby girls. When I was telling my friend why I wanted her to be a 'tomboy' into getting dirty and building things, my friend looked at me and asked why she couldn't build things and get dirty while wearing pink glitter. I had no response! So now I do exactly what you do and let her march to the beat of her own rainbow fashion sense.

Apr 15, 2018

Michael - this story made me smile. It's amazing that these little humans are capable of expressing such emotions. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you all for sharing your own parenting and "thinking about parenting" experiences. I really believe that OOTify can be such a powerful resource for parents to support each other and to be supported. I firmly believe in the saying "it takes a village to raise a child." In this day and age when families are spread further apart, we have to create our own "villages". OOTify will be able to help facilitate this! Keep posting parents! I will have another one coming soon.

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