It’s so hard…

I don’t think enough people talk about how hard it is to be a parent.  There’s really nothing glamorous or graceful about it.  You throw together an entire youth filled with misconception about what it mans to be a parent, a limited set of tools with which to deal with situations you never thought you’d find yourself in, and to top it off you understand that this is the single most important thing you will ever do in your life- it’s a recipe for disaster and its a wonder any child survives.
I always thought that when I was an adult I’d really “have it together,” whatever that means.  I knew what I wanted it all to look like and I was excited about what lie ahead.  Furthermore, I thought I knew what all the adults around me were doing so badly and consequently I was going to do it ten times better- it really didn’t look that hard.
I often find myself in situations that feel surreal to me now, as an adult.  Like- how did I not realize how difficult it was going to be to keep the house clean, or the kitchen stocked? But parenting brings that to a whole new level.  I never thought about how it would feel to see my son sad, or explain adult things in a way my child will understand.  I can do it as a therapist because its not my child, not my feeling of self worth on the line.  When it comes to my own kid, I want you to know that I get it.  I feel lost and phony sometimes, too.  And getting through it takes skill I didn’t realize I was going to need.
I see parents all the time that look defeated.  They’ve somehow strayed from what they thought they’d be as a parent and its hard to accept that it’s not turning out the way you thought.  I think I’m effective in working with these parents because I’m comfortable admitting that I don’t know the answer.  I may not know the answer, but I can promise that I’ll relentlessly generate ideas along with you until we come to something that works.
I know how vulnerable it makes you feel, to love another person so much.  To be responsible for their whole world.  To question everything you do in relation to someone else. When I let myself think too much about it, I feel like a child again- too small to take on these big challenges.  Every moment of my life I’m engrossed in this job of being a parent, on display for my children who are learning from me especially when I’m not intending for them to be.
So here’s what I think you should know- I’m a fraud.  We’re all a bunch of frauds, just trying to pass for something at least remotely resembling the parent we had our hearts set on being one day.  And that’s okay.  That’s perfect, actually- because it means we care enough to put everything we have into this and give it all we’ve got.  I just think we’d get a lot further and possibly even find some peace along the way if we just accepted that we’re all just doing the best we can and could use a little help sometimes. Stop judging and start lifting each other up.  It starts with being honest and loving yourself enough to admit that sometimes being an adult sucks.  It’s really hard.



One thought on “It’s so hard…

  1. Leah, your thoughts are so refreshing! After all of these years, I’ve come to realize that one of the best gifts I can give Laura is to allow her to see that I’m not perfect, but that I can change and start over. We don’t always have control over our circumstances, but we can have control over our responses. Perhaps your early realizations will contribute to a sense of reality that your own children can learn from you, where they can expect to be imperfect parents, but understand that it’s all a journey, to be accepted and embraced.

    Kids don’t come with operating instructions! We all need grace and mercy.

    Love you so!

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