Putting parenting into perspective

I try to remind myself each day that my kids won’t stay kids forever. The tantrums will finally subside, the power struggles will end, they’ll eventually understand that rules are rules and they might actually like structure in the house (or so I hope). The whining will cease, the crying fits and sibling fights will no longer be. I am being a little too optimistic  right now, but I really have no choice but to adopt a more positive attitude through all this. If I keep reminding myself of all the things I should be doing but fail to do, or keep beating myself up for not coming any close to the “ideal mother” image in my mind…I’ll just subject myself to more stress than my body and mind could handle. I’m trying. I’m always trying to make things better. I seek perfection sometimes which is a very bad thing to do. Well, I’m trying to recover from this perfectionism. I’m trying. [Say “trying”. One. More. Time!]

Well, it’s true. What is parenting but a long tedious trial and error process with a few sporadic fun breaks? Stress on “few” and “sporadic”. LOL. You try a few disciplining theories, a couple of sleep-training techniques, some tips to banish picky-eating, and you either fail or succeed. That’s it. But you’ll need a whole lot of patience and effort at remaining consistent while you apply any of the above. AND…If your heart is not it, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Parenting shouldn’t be this hard and a lot more fun but the truth of the matter is if you want to raise happy, successful children there’s a dear price to pay. Your comfort and sanity. Maybe I’m exaggerating here, but I honestly don’t think I can have a clean, quiet home and happy, obedient kids ALL at the same time. It just won’t work. I would be asking for too much if I expect that they’ll choose to play quitely in a tidied up room over chasing one another around the house making silly loud noises. They will want to defy the house rules at some point.  It’s getting them to comply that’s the trick.  Getting them to like being neat and tidy is one way of teaching them how to become more organized, paving the way for a successful responsible adulthood. Which reminds me of how hard my mom has tried to teach me to become this organized, to the point of OCD. And yet, I have my flaws. Perhaps I try to make up for my absent-mindedness and attention-deficit by being a picky perfectionist. So how can I expect my journey through motherhood to be any less hardwork? I am really disciplining myself and my children at the same time. I’m learning to control my temper and tame my reactions as I teach them to control theirs. I structurize their day aiming to have many valuable lesson ingrained in their lives early on. 

When my mom reminds me of so many negative incidents that have happened in my childhood, she recalls them in so much detail while I remember only the highlights. I sense the pain of her memory. I think of how long that day that I vaguely remember must have be for her. I imagine how worried she might have felt, how disappointed or frustrated. “Will she turn out OK?” She must have thought. These are now my everyday thoughts, at least. “Will they turn out OK?” And while nothing can guarantee that except my deep faith in God guiding me through this whole parenting quest, I can be certain that these long long days will soon be just memories. No matter what feelings they’ll evoke, they’ll only take me briefly back to a time when my babies were young and needed me the most. I’ll miss that feeling of being called upon to zip up a jacket, tie a shoelace, or fetch an object out of reach. I’ll miss the tiniest of details which I probably won’t be able to recall vividly as I age. 

It won’t be long before our kids launch into life on their own. The years are indeed short once you put things in perspective. All I could pray for is remembering these seemingly long days in good light. 

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Author: Zeina

I'm a Lebanese translation and editing professional. Juggling parenthood and a home-based freelance career is no easy task, especially for a (hopefully recovering) perfectionist. I'm also an introvert, so yes this explains the tagline "I write better than I speak" :) Hope you enjoy your stay here!

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