Friend, this is a very heartfelt post. I write to let it be known that when you feel like popping your cork because there are difficulties at home, that it is so normal to struggle as a parent.
Further, we all know that everybody struggles as a parent at one point or another. But here’s the thing…Even though we all know that it’s “normal” to struggle as a parent, when I’m casually talking to other parents about their kids, I find that most mom’s are unwilling to admit that they struggle. They’re unwilling to admit that they may feel lost with how to parent their toddlers, or frustrated with how to effectively parent their teens, or just totally inadequate to handle their preschooler’s latest developmental change (when they just got the last one down).
Parents seem reluctant to open up about this, and I think there is something lurking under the covers that partially explains why.
First, as parents, I think we really want to be seen as having it all together. I think that we don’t want other people to very sorry for us, or single us out and think (or God forbid actually SAY) “Poor girl, she’s really clueless. or; “I am so glad I don’t have that problem.”, or; “I wonder if she knows how hard she is blowing it with that boy?”
So we pretend. We want others to think we have it all together so that we don’t experience the universal shame that we all actually do experience at one time or another. And…it’s NORMAL. It’s NORMAL to feel like crap inside when we haven’t been our best. It’s NORMAL to wish we didn’t have to deal with the attitudes our kids sometimes daily fling our way. It NORMAL to want to escape mothering for a day (week) when the chaos and scheduling and after-school activities overwhelm us as we are dealing with winter colds ourselves. Good Lord, can I get a loud AMEN?
Second, I also think that parents don’t talk about their struggles as much because they believe that if they don’t talk about it, it isn’t real. That the struggle will resolve on its own and go away. Or that their struggles aren’t as bad as “so and so’s” so they should just put on their big girl panties and get on with it! So they look the other way and again pretend everything’s fine.
Ultimately at the end of the day, our reluctance to tell the truth when someone else asks “How’s it going this week?” is really just simple pride rearing its ugly head.
But listen precious sister, there is a better way!
When we come before God and truly lift our burdens, He reminds us that He created our community to help us shoulder those same burdens. The fact is, when we’re struggling, we simply need help sometimes. We need support. We need to process. We need advice. We need to know WE’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES.
When we can be brave enough to admit to other people that we are struggling with our parenting, it demonstrates the vulnerability necessary for REAL connection in our relationships as well as with our families. God designed it this way.
So, just in case you forgot, It’s okay not to have all the answers, and it’s okay to ask for help or advice. There is a difference between you and your parenting, and your value in no way is defined by it. At the end of the day, we ALL struggle. And it’s NORMAL. The key is not giving up. We ought to face our challenges and be brave enough to look in the mirror and admit we need to grow and change in some areas. And then continue to do that every day. Because kids deserve all the best we have to give! And, quite frankly, that’s more important.
Feel free to reach out here also with questions or comments.