Modern-day parenting, ah we LOVE IT!
Mix up this crazy-making combo of:
-Supremely high cost of living, financial pressures and both parents often working;
-The breakdown of the ‘village’ our previous generations had, with local family support to raise the kids (if you have this still, yay you and tell us where you live NOW!);
-The culture of ‘comparison-itis' on social media where even the most robust of us can leave a mindless Facebook / Insta scroll feeling like we are not enough, followed up with a nice dose of guilt;
-Kids that are gorgeously entitled, pampered and over-privileged in comparison to previous generations (it’s ok to admit this. We still love them);
-An addictive screen culture of ipads, phones and gaming we are all learning somehow to manage;
-A modern-day over-arching culture where ‘BUSY’ has become our new norm and worse than that, it seemingly defines our value and worth;
-A realm of ‘parenting experts’, who even if they don’t mean to, have us second guessing how the heck we parent and just how much we are inadvertently damaging our babies and kids (cue the guilt train again);
- AND is often the case with many local/Illawarra-based families, is that one partner or both, are commuting back and forth from Sydney which = increased
pressure on time to meet the demands of a family. The end result is that it is often left up to one partner to manage the mental load and the day
to day running of the home and family.
And what do you get? Your answer to why parenting in 2019 and beyond has us frazzled more than ever?!?
So, it’s not surprising that trying to swim in that soup leaves us exhausted, overwhelmed and anxiety riddled. YES, we love our babies and kids beyond anything else.YES we live here in our beautiful patch of escarpment / ocean paradise that is the Illawarra, BUT even that can’t buffer us from modern day culture and parenting stress.
Positive psychology alone doesn’t cut it (in our humble opinion only).
So firstly we can acknowledge the soup in which we swim, and acknowledge its effect on us. It has become pretty standard for us parents to feel bloody exhausted and somewhat anxious.
Then, try this!
Feck off ‘BUSY’
Ha, how?! We hear you cry!? How do we jump off the parenting hamster wheel of always having STUFF to do, it’s endless. Well, jump off every once in a while, even if it’s literally for twenty seconds only.
Stop and sniff your child’s hair, admire the glint of sunshine on your glass of water, lie on the floor and just breathe for one minute. Tell yourself that a 1 hour walk is actually THE best thing for your body mind and soul (and then do it). Meditate, practice gratitude and feel blessed for the messy, busy, silly life you have, just do whatever you need to do to make that decision to step off the wheel for just a bit.
Relish the ‘mini’ moments
Parenting sucks sometimes, and sometimes even ALOT. But in amidst the inevitable struggle, there are moments that can make your heart burst with love, laughter, pride or joy – and when they appear, look out for them, relish them, celebrate them, know they keep us sane! Our love for our kids, when peeled back and made bare, is the most pure, selfless and fulfilling emotion of all. Hold onto that.
Check in with your GP
Who will look after your kids if you are not OK? Go have your bloods checked, fill in the mental health survey and see if you are actually either a little or a lot anxious and depressed. DO it! One call, right now, off you go! You owe it to your kids. And yourself.
Know you are NOT alone
Parenting is lonely, hard work at times. At times we all struggle, at times we all feel overwhelmed. Yet our struggles are contained behind our closed doors mostly (until we lose it publicly at the supermarket in front of hundreds of strangers – guilty as charged!). So next time you find yourself feeling isolated, you are not. Imagine that us parents are all strangely interconnected, all just wanting the best for our kids, all naturally stuffing it up at times. You will never be alone wiping up poo, wee, clearing up the chaos of kids, or breastfeeding at night. Tear down the walls of our houses and we are all enduring the same sort of challenges - and none of us ever breeze through them unscathed.
Go easy on yourself, we never have to be perfect. In fact, if as a parent we modelled perfection to our kids, we would straightjacket them into feeling
like they can never stuff up. And wouldn’t life be boring?