Parenting is an Invitation to Dig In
Parenting is such boots-on-the-ground work. There’s just no way around what needs to get done each day. Yet you keep showing up. You have to. As the saying goes, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger.
But parenting can’t just be work and sacrifice. It’s why so many parents get frustrated at their kids, “Look what I’m doing for you. Can’t you at least do this little thing for me?”
Parents want to laugh, relax, hang out with their kids, reap the rewards of their devotion and hard work, because they know how fleeting these years are. Two weekends ago I walked my oldest son down the aisle.
Being a parent can feel like living on the front lines of one’s own life, causing us to live in a chronic state of high alert. Parents have to work, make money, manage the home, love and care for children, each other, themselves. Everyday. Year after year.
The pressure, friction, discomfort parents experience is how you know something needs changing but change takes time and practice, things hard to come by in a parent's busy life.
Parents can rearrange schedules and get the help they need but the real help comes when you become your own best friend and advocate, when you parent the parent, or more specifically, when you know and love your inner world.
There are no quick fixes or “a right way” to parent as many parenting books would like you to believe because parents should never be actors performing scripts. Parenting is first and foremost about honest relationship building. It’s a relationship with your child and partner but it’s also very much a relationship with yourself.
Being in an honest relationship means living with truth and responsibility and owning the power you have to change what’s not working, which is also the definition of maturity. Immaturity is youthful and reactionary, blaming others for our troubles, not realizing the answers we seek live in us.
When becoming a parent, we find ourselves on a road of self-discovery but we must choose to own our discovery or else it will elude us. How we face parenting challenges is ultimately what defines us, not just as a parent but also as a human being.