It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update on our Year of Positive Parenting.
To be honest, it’s been really hard.
There’s nothing more I want in life than to get this parenting thing “right”. And of course, the reality of parenting is that there is no “right”. Math problems have right answers. Jeopardy questions have right answers. Parenting does not have right answers.
In my gut, I sense that parenting is more of an art. Is there a “right” way to paint a picture? Is there a “right” way to lead an organization? Is there a “right” way to teach a classroom full of kids? Probably not. Most of us would agree that it’s generally a combination of style, personality, timing, and a bit of luck. Sure, we have guiding principles and there are some “wrong” ways of doing each of these things, but outside of that, all is fair game.
The point of all this? On most days, I don’t feel like I’m doing this parenting thing “right”. And in the vein of a conversation Brene Brown has in her book, Rising Strong, I actually DO feel like I’m doing my best, with the tools I have.
I’m just not happy with my best. I need to continue to find better tools.
We’re learning about emotions, and how we’re wired.
We’re learning to slow down and simplify.
We’re learning to recognize when we’re worn out.
We’re learning to figure out ways to recharge our batteries.
We’re learning how to ask for help.
We’re learning how to better deal with our own stuff.
We’re learning how to let kids mess up with grace.
We’re learning how to deal with disappointment in healthier ways.
We’re learning how to lower our standards.
We’re learning that we are not just learning to parent each of our kids in a healthy way, but we’re also learning how to help each set of relationships between our kids grow and thrive too. One-on-one, parenting is relatively easy. But it’s when we’re all together that it gets really hard.
This is messy and I wish nearly every week that we were closer to family because I’m also learning to recognize and admit that parenting 4 kids without consistent support and frequent breathers and some other adult’s loving perspective is HARD. I think as parents it’s good to be reminded by others on the outside that our kids are beautiful and amazing and talented and well-behaved and funny and NORMAL. Because let me tell you, when you’re on the inside, in the messiness of it all, that perspective is sometimes lost.
And in case you’re curious as to what I’m reading, here are some of the voices I’ve been listening to as I grow in these areas:
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings by Laura Markham
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham
Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
If you’re in the same boat as us, take heart! I think the key to moving forward is to keep ourselves open to being learners and to always error on the side of love.