Updated: Sep 5, 2018
By Anonymous Contributor
Parenting from a position of fear
I was extremely overwhelmed during my daugther’s pretty-rough but standard (basically lots of crying) transition-period into school. I felt lost, blindsided, confused, scared, and most of all, ill-equipped, unprepared, and not good enough. It was really hard trying to process these feeling, all the while witnessing (as that’s all I could do) my daughter go through the biggest transition in her life thus far.
Circling in my head was – what did I do wrong? How could I not have set this up better? I’m not prepared! Full-time work is not for a dedicated mother. I should have thought through this better, etc. etc. etc.
Parenting from a position of fear (and to be precise – fear of making mistakes) was demoralizing and debilitating to say the least. (My partner was very helpful but only I could get myself out of this mess)
That led me to my watershed moment and the question that seemingly has freed me from the above debacle: what is the point of being a parent?
Is it to maximize her potential?
To ensure absolute success?
To compete among the best?
To be ahead of the game?
To make sure that every decision I make is correct and perfect?
I remember looking at my little off-spring, completely lost for words, and thought - what is the point of me as her parent?
Looking back, it was easier to answer the above questions during her first few years since the ability to so-call “maximize” her potential was so limited. She could ONLY do so much. But as she grows older, I’m starting to get a taste of how insurmountable and ridiculous such lofty goals are. Moreover, I’m starting to see her as a being wholly separate from myself – a being so beautiful in all her own ways.
Fortunately, I had a few parent-friends to turn to during this time. The feedback was pretty similar across the board, such as - you will fuck up, guaranteed. Another mom said, 1) never lose your sense of humor, 2) you will always feel guilty, and 3) it only gets worse as they grow older so get used to it. But my favorite was from our friend who said – for most things, it will pass, but one thing won’t – NEVER post naked pictures. And – once they realize the value of money – you’ve got them by the short and curly. So true.
To sum up, I’m relieved (maybe temporarily though) because it seems like there is only one guarantee, and that’s that I will screw up. But otherwise, there’s no guarantee that if I do my best, I will have a wholesome, healthy, balanced child as an outcome. That’s the outlandish part of the calculus that I’m so glad I’m coming to terms with. So it begs the question once more – what is the point??
It's about our relationship
I think for me, it surely is not to obtain the goals I mentioned above, but my current stance is that it’s about the relationship that her and I are cultivating together. Her doing things that I enjoy, and me doing things that she enjoys. More of a mentoring role, than a directive/authoritarian role. So I’m relieved that I can now think about how to better our relationship, rather than how to make her a more successful child. I think in the long run, that’s what will matter, and by focusing on the cultivation of our relationship, goodness will come.
I don’t know about you ladies, but for me, it is crucial to my development as a person that people share their stories with me. It’s a balancing act. If you feel up to it, please share your experiences with me. (You all have such great stories and perspective to share!)
Anonymous post sent to Hezalia July 16th, 2018
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