The following post is written by one of my favorite guest authors, Alicja Ciesielska. She is a mother of 3 who is sharing with us an experience of her biggest parenting struggle.
My Original Plan
When I sat down to write this text I was ready to share with you all what kind of struggles do I meet as a mom of three.
The plan was to write about how my two-year-old wants to do everything on her own. Everything. All the time. And how she throws a tantrum whenever I offer help. How my four-year-old has troubles to understand that he needs to listen to me and how I have troubles with executing that. I could also share about my frequent attempts to convince my nine-year-old to do anything that does not involve any screen.
I started writing the post, but then different thought struck me. I hope you don’t mind a little spin on the subject.
Chris Rock, an American comedian and actor, had this stand-up routine (I believe in 1996) that changed my comprehension of words “supposed to do” forever. This even entered my family’s inside lingo right after we watched that skit a few years ago. While Rock was addressing some racial issues in his own controversial way, what I took from this is that in general, people often complain about stuff that are quite basic, that are something we are simply supposed to do. These obligations are no big deal, just part of life.
If you think about it, how often do you talk about doing the dishes? The never-ending mountains of laundry? Are they annoying? Yes, no discussion about it! But has complaining about it ever done something good? Is talking about it changing anything? It’s just the loss of energy, actually.
Here’s the thing, this also applies to all the talking about the parenting struggles. Because in fact, it is not the parent who struggle. It’s the child. And we are supposed to help him/her cope.
When you become a mom, you start to worry. During the whole pregnancy you worry about the little miracle inside you and you are scared about everything labor-related. Then you have SIDS to think about (and fast-forwarding) preschools, teen issues, dates, college funds, if they find a worthy spouse and so on.
This worrying spiral will constantly be in your head. Even if your kids have their own kids, this does not release you but adds to your agenda. Then you worry also for grandkids. Here’s your new look on the circle of life. This is a struggle. But it is also part of the definition of parenthood.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Keep on reading, I have an idea how to deal with it 😊
Your kids have their own characters, emotions, likes and dislikes. Whatever you try, the truth is you do not have control over that. You are helping them to figure the world out, but the whole process is on them. I can easily imagine that especially in the toddlerhood literally everything is confusing and what can this little human do? She takes it all out on parents, the people who they trust and who are around. Safe heaven. No pressure, huh?
And what do you do then? You have a problem for a while, then you’re finding a solution of how to help your kids (because after all, you always either find a solution or the phase passes, right?) and go on to the next struggle. Why? You guessed it, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. This is simply what parents do.
Stop and Think
Please, stop for a second and let this one sink in. It took me a while to understand that and maybe, in fact, this was my biggest parenting problem. To understand that the real struggle is not on my side. Humans tend to be self-centered, I am no better. But now when I have some issues with my kids, I try to be intentional about finding the core of the problem. Who is in the middle of it? Usually, it turns out that my role is just supportive or even just not to interrupt too much.
You can spend hours, scrolling Pinterest, reading all the posts about different parenting struggles. Most of them you’ll find very relatable because most parents deal with similar issues. Ways of handling those troubles will probably differ from parents to parents because no child is the same. They have different needs.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to raise a kid. Especially when you’re trying really hard and you don’t see the outcome you expect for a long time. Trust me, I get it! But hey, that’s the thing with parenthood. Nobody promised you it will be easy.
You Are Raising A Child
So now. Here it comes! What can you do to not cry over your troubles and hard days? Redefine what you see as struggle! What are you doing every single day (and unfortunately also almost every night) is raising a child. It’s a task. Try to see it that way. Take as much of the negative emotion you can out of the picture. Switch your struggling mode into task solving process.
When your brain will be busy with looking for solutions and making a plan, there is a huge chance it will have no more resources to overthink the emotional side of the problem. Dare to try it?
Teething? Your task is to comfort your little one. Repeat to yourself like a mantra that it will pass very soon and don’t forget that this poor baby is not crying to make your life harder. S/he is in pain and does not even understand why. But you understand why, so take it as your project: pain relief and emotional support are what you’re supposed to do. Save yourself all of the over-experiencing the struggles and focus the energy on the mission.
Discipline issues, lack of respect, poor friend choices and so on – all of these problems probably have its roots in some control desires and miscommunication. Is it a struggle to be the one who has to be responsible and has to navigate the whole situation? Yes! But this is what we’re supposed to do. So, every time you see another mom that is in a hard situation and tells you about her parenting issues, what you can offer her is a friendly hug and then some reality as a cold shower.
Find more from Alicja at mommymindsetcoach.com