Anyone can be a parent.
I find it crazy that you need a license to do something like, say, fishing – but there are no rules or obligatory preparation for becoming a parent. I’m not saying that there should be, but my point is this: It is infinitely more complex to become a parent, and be a good one, than so many other things that there are very clear rules and regulations for.
Anyone can become a parent.
You can be a parent on ‘autopilot’, living moment-to-moment, going through life without giving a second thought to the effects of your actions on this other person’s life. This other little person that you chose to bring into the world. Anyone can be a half-assed parent.
The quest is to be a good parent.
Being a good parent doesn’t mean killing yourself trying to be the ‘perfect’ parent, or the ‘best’ parent. These things are impossible, and breed competition, rivalry, exhaustion, and burn-out.
Also, an a different note, what does that type of parenting role model for your children? Striving to do the impossible, killing yourself trying to live up to an ideal that is actually a fantasy and not a reality – this teaches you to ignore your own body and mind’s cues saying you need to rest and replenish. This also leaves you always feeling inadequate as you can never reach this impossible goal. This is a breeding ground for low self-esteem and insecurity. It’s like trying to look like the airbrushed models in the magazines: You will never succeed as that is not how they look in reality. It’s not real. Is that what you want to teach your children? That they are not good enough unless they’re ‘perfect’? Which, actually they will never be, so therefore you actions are teaching them that they will never be good enough.
Children learn through what they see and experience, not just what you tell them with your words.
The key to successful parenting is simple.
So the key is this: Don’t try to be perfect, but also don’t live in apathy.
Anyone can be a half-assed parent. Anyone can spend less time on parenting and more time and attention on how they look, the brand of their clothes, their friends, and how things are going at work.
Being a parent is a responsibility. It is something we chose to do. Whether you feel ready for the responsibility or not, it is there. It’s not something you can switch off. It is not something you can shrug your shoulders at, or wash your hands of.
Whatever you decide to do will affect your children.
I don’t say this to inspire fear, but to remind us of what an important job we’ve undertaken. In a society that values people by their income and attaches dollar signs to everything, the role of parenthood is sometimes downplayed.
My message is clear.
We need to be aware parents. We need to know ourselves. When we tune into ourselves we are better able to tune into our children and their needs.
Operating on autopilot, with blinkers on, will no longer suffice. We can’t wait till an issue arises to deal with it. We can’t wait for the shit to hit the fan to take action, because then we will be firefighting. Firefighting isn’t just a problem because it’s stressful and not a fun way to live. It is also a problem because you are just keeping your head above water if you are only dealing with quelling problems. This is not reaching your full potential or living your best life – far from it. Nor does this help your children lead their best lives, and isn’t that what it’s all really about?
Self awareness is key. We need to know ourselves as people, in order to know ourselves as parents.
If we are to look after someone else, we need to look after our selves. How can we know how to best look after our needs if we can’t identify them? If we need rest and relaxation because we are on the brink of burn-out from trying too hard, how will we be able to do that if we don’t know what relaxes us or brings us joy?
Or how will we know what provokes us to anger in stressful situations if we don’t know ourselves and don’t know our triggers?
I think we can all think of times where we have inadvertently gotten angry and ended up shouting at our child because we’ve been triggered by something that they’ve done. We may not have meant to shout at them but something in us just reacted. We end up feeling bad and guilty afterwards because it’s as if we know the whole thing could have been avoided. Is this how we want to live? Reacting? Feeling out of control and unable to stop, then later guilty?
Get to know yourself.
We need to live authentically for ourselves and for our families. We need to spend time on our own needs, as well as others’. Otherwise we are just leading a half-assed life, a life without colour or flavour. A life of rinse and repeat, again and again, until one day it was over. Done. A life finished – but not complete.
We don’t know how long we have on this wonderful planet, we should be using each day wisely. Being the best we can be in all areas. Life is too short to waste, and no one is going to come along and change it for us.
We are the drivers, we are in control. We must take responsibility for the life that we see before us. If we don’t like what we see, I’m sorry to say it, but we are the ones who have created it. The good news is we are the ones who created it! That means we are also the ones who can change it if it needs changing.
It’s time to rise up.
Anyone can be a parent. Anyone can live an okay, mediocre, “survivable” life. But we shouldn’t be surviving and just getting by, we should be thriving and growing; as parents and as people.
Work on yourself. It is possible to be work in progress and a masterpiece at the same time. Any work you do on yourself is an investment in yourself, your future, and the future of your children.
Hit me up for inspiration or tips on how to start if you’re not sure how. There’s a free consultation session waiting for you if you’d like to talk some of this through. Just get in touch.