Do you sometimes think that when it comes to parenting?
You are making a big decision when you decide to have children.
Would you agree?
When I was pregnant with my first-born child, I had so many ideal pictures in mind; after I got over the first 3 months of all-day nausea.
In a way pregnancy tells us a good bit about what being a parent may be like.
It is a long, long, long journey or at least that’s what the first trimester of me carrying babies felt like.
For fathers, this is also a nail-biting time, or so I imagine as the father's life is changed forever, too.
Fathers are in the observer's role and are often helpless when it comes to carrying the weight.
It makes me wonder if this is to prepare fathers to learn and stand back and to have faith that they are not in control anymore, to allow this new human being to find his or her own way in life.
Mothers may have a more difficult task when is comes to learning to let go, after all this newborn has been a part of us for so long?
What I want to say is that parenting is one of the hardest things many of us will ever do.
Your child comes through you and wants all of you.
And then you are being asked on this mad journey called parenting to develop healthy boundaries with this new earth being.
How do we know being a parent for the first time without a proper toolbox: how much is enough and when to say ‘no’.
In my recent parenting course I realised that one of the biggest burdens as a parent is to not have a detailed manual to go by that reassures us: if we stick with the instructions - it will all turn out well.
Being responsible for raising this future adult is such a huge ask of us that it can be overwhelming very early on.
Some of my fellow parents and caregivers have a lot to deal with in their own lives and struggles, that looking after a child leaves them close to burn out after the early years.
With this depletion of our own energy bucket after many sleepless nights, we are then tasked to let go further and meet the demands of a school child, moving through tween years and finally arriving at the dreaded teenage years.
When it comes to being in control, my experience has been that nobody challenges us more than our own child.
In my most recent challenge, I had to give it to my child for being the bigger person.
Would you like to hear what happened only last week?
I am currently recording and e-course where this parenting approach may be accessed through 8 self-study modules at a time that suits you.
Module 2 is going to be all about misbehaviour.
That’s what I worked on last Friday.
Within hours of explaining why we all flip our lid every now and then unless we are a saint - my child was misbehaving.
At least that’s what I judged it as.
The situation was that the cat was meowing and standing in front of an empty food bowl.
My child was busy with agreed screen-time.
When the cats need food my children committed to feeding them.
I went to one of my children and demanded to interrupt screen-time and do their chore.
My child said in the calmest voice: “If you are afraid that the cat will starve to death and it is that urgent, why don’t re-fill it?”
I was out of control and completely irrational.
So I went and calmed down before I was able to access my rational brain again.
After I felt more self-regulated I went through some troubleshooting of what just happened.
My child was right and my belief that the cat would die instantly was simply untrue.
It was this hidden belief that paralysed me and turned me into demanding, guilt-tripping and giving out parent.
My own behaviour was simply not acceptable.
Was it the last time that I will have gotten it wrong?
I don’t think so.
When I was finished going over what I could have done differently, I was able to see that screen-time was just about to end and my child would have had no reason to enter my power contest, initiated by me.
My children love our pets so much, they would never allow them to starve.
When I am calm - I have faith in my child to know their ability and discouragement is unnecessary.
My last couple of weeks as a parent were very humbling.
I got something on a deeper level like I never had before.
What I learned was that I am allowed to mess up too.
I have been speaking about this for years.
Saying it and knowing it are two different parts of the process of learning to change.
What shifted for me was that this Adlerian parenting approach is an ideal to strive towards.
Me being the human being I am with my own private logic, history and perspective is completely separate from my passion about parenting.
You may be having similar high standards you aim to reach?
Every time like me when you then don’t measure up - you feel a gun held to your head.
This sounds very extreme, I know.
However, when I received permission over the last few weeks to take this gun down in connection with having to have a thriving business that sustains my children and myself going forward, I felt a massive relief.
I no longer needed to be the perfect mother.
Have an imperfect week and what you don’t get right the first time - you can try and try again.