I recently engaged in a discussion around what it’s like to raise a child; or multiples. The tone of the discussion was frank, lighthearted and a bit dark at times. Exactly the way being a parent is. Every parent feels this, and when you struggled to have your child, you will think this but may not be strong enough to say it out loud out of fear of seeming ungrateful.
The conversation started with a non-parent reaching for the stars saying the want 4,5,6 kids and those who were already parents cackled heartily at the dreamer. Hit me up after you’ve had your first someone said. We all laughed again. Another person neatly declined the thought of procreating and honestly was met with a lil’ envy. Thinking about having more children comes with so much reluctance. Then you think, if my life is constantly on flames now, what’s a lil more heat? If you are lucky enough, you find out. There was also mention of the fact that people don’t always know what they’re talking about when it comes to kids. This is my FAVOURITE thing to say, why? Because no one person is the same. What worked for you wont work for others and people should really stop doling out advice on sight. Fingers on your lips as the ‘parents’ handle things their way. Here’s the thing, people get frustrated when something someone told them doesn’t work, not realizing that it isn’t intended for your child but theirs. Take suggestions and advice from people you trust but always try what your gut is telling you first. Most importantly what your kid is telling you. I cringe when I watch parents do what others tell them to do to their kids while the child have to be standing up for themselves because you’re failing at respecting their right to choose. Then they further get labelled as rude and treated as such. Meanwhile, you’re selectively deaf. Child-centered parenting is not indication of weak parenting. FACT. It was also mentioned that its gets easier the more you have, you can never be sure though. The thing about being a parent is that absolutely anything is fair game.
Frankly expressed was the fact that you get used to a new normal, then fall back into the pits of newborn hell. Caring for a loaf of bread sized human who can’t do much but expel rapidly out both ends and let you dress them up. The teething, late nights, fevers, protein spills, never ending cleaning, potty training, wonder weeks, regressions, illnesses, accidents, near misses, they anxiety, thin sanity, breastfeeding woes, greying, loveless marriages, nonexistent sexy time, schedules, frantic driving, arguments, tempers, tantrums, body changes, memory loss, irritability, tolerance and weight ballooning. You genuinely wonder if you were built for any of it and find that you build yourself as you go. You find your strength and uncover truths about yourself from raising your kids. The lessons learned in parenting happens when things occur but if you never have another child you don’t get to redeem yourself and quench that burning guilt. There’s also finances and another cackle happened this time with a few tears being shed at the mention of this topic. I love being a mother and at the crux of that is that pair of boots I also love but couldn’t buy last month, or every month if i wanted. Frankly, my savings account I throw money into the same way I do a wishing well, every now and then you know, just in case… as its been awhile.*Hears a knock on a door*… Me: home ownership is that you?…why no, no it’s not. It’s the need for another bloody winter jacket since your kid lost the last one you purchased just 2 weeks ago.
Hard truths was what I said, in addition to that most days I love being a parent. My main qualm is having to do everything by ourselves all the time because you cannot depend on anyone. People either don’t understand kids, have the patience or they romanticize how they were raised and want to pass that on. It’s difficult being a hermit parent because life happens but also you have to do that so you don’t end up raising a child that has to work to heal from traumas. You then rely on a daycare service which in itself gets paid out with the likes of a cash cannon. Someone else chimed in saying this also leads you lose 80% of your family, friends and about 80% of yourself. BIG FACTS.
The key I find is to treat kids like adults so they gain their independence early, even in their manner of thinking. Socialize them properly, hold them to discipline and you have a built in best friend. There is now a certain symmetry when you both understand and trust each other because a certain bond is there. There’s also so many joys that come with being a parent, their innocence and wonderment for the simplest things is so fulfilling and humbling. Being a parent most importantly comes from honestly asking yourself ‘Am I unfit?’ ‘Children are to be seen not heard’ is dead and should have been generations ago. It dumbed down a whole generation of people who have issues with basic communication. It taught people to not talk to each other and to be impressionist because we don’t want to face embarrassment. That was the key here, our parents didn’t want us to embarrass them so everyone walked around heads high like everything was fine. Meanwhile the truth was that mental illness, toxic behaviors, abuse and other issues needed to be out in the open and discussed. They created frail children in a new, mean world, not kids who would speak up when something wasn’t right. Let them speak and no matter what it is they’re saying, converse with them. Ask a million questions and teach them how to communicate. To bring this full circle, the minute your child needs to navigate the world without you present they need a sense of maturity and the ability to communicate so that you are aware of everything they experienced. They need to be able to tell you everything that happens to them in your absence, not cower and speak up for themselves and those without a voice. If you find that you need to control everything and try to do that to others around you, you are unfit. Watch your interactions with others and how much you try to influence people to ‘bend’ in a way that pleases you. Language, mannerisms, actions, choices and willpower are independent based on free thinking and should not be stifled or changed. Yes, choose the best people to be around but we genuinely all have rough patches. If you find that you cannot leave people alone and take them as they see fit then you cannot parent well. You need to be able to give them freedom to choose, fail and fight against all odds; they also need great examples that teach them how to celebrate in a way that doesn’t oppress others. Think about it, if you cannot just be and let people be themselves around you, when the dark days of parenting hit, you’re going to rage against your child. That, is the first step towards a traumatic life….