Google+ Authentic Parenting: The Hardest Thing (rerun)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Hardest Thing (rerun)

Image: Dreamstime
I’m not a perfect parent. I’m not even the parent I aspire to be, and I don’t aspire to perfection. There are lots of things I struggle with, things I have analyzed and know should change, but have yet to find an overwrite too.
Often failure and mistake as a parent is caused by falling into old patterns, patterns we need to find a way to overwrite and eradicate.
Here is a list of my hardest things, what are yours? And what are you doing to change them?

  1. Anger - Anger is my biggest problem. I have a lot of bottled anger and I still haven’t found a healthy way of working through it, one that actually works in the moment.
  2. Not yelling - rationally, I know that yelling is wrong and only makes matters worse, yet it is hard to avoid that knee jerk reaction that brings a pitch to my voice when I’m alarmed or stressed out.
  3. Unconditionality - After having being conditioned towards conditionality, it is very hard for me to shake this off and not withdraw my love when my daughter acts up. Frankly, I just struggle to remain present and loving when she is kicking or stressing out.
  4. Peer Pressure - Whenever I am in public, I notice that I have much more pressure to perform, as a good mother, a perfect wife... It is very stressful and makes me handle situations in ways I know are wrong, just to get them out of the way (which generally just doesn’t work at all). I have relaxed a lot more and I notice that I’m actually way cooler about things than my husband, while it used to be the reverse.
  5. My husband - As my husband works six days a week, it is understandable that he doesn’t have the 18 hours a day to think about birth, parenting, natural living, so obviously, there is a huge gap in our knowledge. We do have discussions about these topics, but our discussions, as our time together, are very limited. I always feel as if he is limping behind and I feel the need to correct him when he addresses our daughter in a way that strokes with the beliefs I have about parenting. It is frustrating for the both of us and I don’t quite see how we can fix this. Moreover, he’s just not that interested in those topics as I am to actually consider them those 18 hours a day.
We do plan to eventually make changes in our lives, so he works a little less and I get to work a little more and he will take up more of the parenting than he does now, but I am unsure if it will change the situation a lot.
  6. Remaining present through emotion - I have to collect all my energy not to get angry, frustrated or caught in the emotion when my daughter has an emotional outburst. Often I find it easiest to remain gentle by disconnecting, but I know that’s just a lesser evil.

Update: This is a post I wrote a while back. I must say that I have far less issues with peer pressure nowadays, and with my husband - as far as parenting goes - we are doing better. I'm working a lot on the anger issue, so you might see some post come up on that topic in the near future. It's nice to know that I am in fact growing and not standing still. With mindfulness, we can reprogram our minds and knee-jerk reactions.
What is it you are struggling with? Do you feel like you are slowly overcoming your issues? What has helped most?



  1. We may be parenting twins! I can relate to almost every sentiment posited in this entry. What helps me most to overcome these exact difficulties is to get some time to myself. Without proper time to unwind and reflect, it can seem neigh impossible to change these ingrained traits that so many of us had passed down via our own parent's parenting styles. Progress can be slower than we would like, but as long as we continue to put in the work we will reap the rewards. Hang in there! None of us (or very few of us) parent to our own standards. We have the world's most difficult job, especially when we aspire to greater heights than much of the rest of society. <3 Hang in there. it gets better.

    - Mother of 3 beautifully rambunctious boys ages 6, 4.5 and 3.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. It did more than you probably can imagine.

  3. wow, apart from number 5 I'm right there with you mama. Working through anger issues is SO tough and of course, our children come here to hold up mirrors, push our buttons and encourage us to be authentic.

    Holding you in a mama to mama hug. Thanks for sharing such a raw and honest post which I feel sure many people will relate to. I agree with ElephanTiger that getting 'me time' is crucial. We have to love and take care of ourselves (no matter how 'unworthy' we feel) before we can offer it to others, right?

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have always felt that I didn't fit into the gentle/authentic/"crunchy" parenting that i wanted because of my anger/yelling issues. It seems that whenever you just start to think you have made headway, something sets you off to fall back into those old routines/reactions. I am a single mother of 2, my dd is 7.5 and my ds is almost 20 months. I have also recently be diagnosed bi-polar II. Please keep up all your hard work with the blog, and your fb page. I really love reading them, and find great ideas on how to get closer to becoming the parent I have always dreamed of being!

  5. Yep, I am right there with you. I am trying to learn to be as gentle with myself as I want to be with my children. I know better than to expect perfection from any of us, but it is still hard. So, no advice, but I will say in total honesty that I see so much beauty, grace and love in you. Even when you may not feel like it, that part of you is growing and being nurtured, and I am confident that it will continue to grow as you seek peace and love. <3

  6. omg! That post could have been mine... word by word. Except the husband part. I get him to read articles or books and he almost feels like I do in most subjects. Unfortunately he still does not understand "tantrums" or "prebedtime calm-down" but eventually we'll get there :) Also agree with ElephanTiger: if I spend some time away, I get to unwind and can be more supportive of my daughter once I return. All the best!

  7. Well my husband is not that bad. He reads my blog... sometimes, and he will read the occasional parenting article or book I shove in front of him. I think I'm just wanting more from him than he can give and he's struggling just as much as me. Especially lately because we've both been really stressed out. I would just want him to have more time for us and be strong... But of course he's human and just as fallible as I am. And that often acts as a catalyst

  8. Wow, thanks for sharing this. Im also in the same boat! Even #5. I feel like I am constantly nagging my DH to read this book or that book. He's a great Dad, I just don't feel like we're on the "same page", kwim? I feel like we'd feel more like a team if we knew how to approach certain parts of parenthood in the same manner. Specifically gentle discipline. I need the accountablity and so does he.

  9. Love this post and your honesty-
    I know you didn't ask for my advice- but I have got to say this!!!
    I think there is beauty and peace in allowing our partner to parent differently than we do. Kids must come from TWO very different people, and I think this is for a reason- so they get TWO different parents and parenting styles.
    Rather than butting in when they do something we don't approve of, we can just let it slide (barring abuse of course). To say something can pretty much only hurt the mother/father relationship- it it is very important to the child that that be a strong one.

    If what we are doing works- and our spouse is a good person, they will come to see it. In my experience though, when I try to correct my hubby, (which I often do, I just can't help myself!!!) it just causes friction and doesn't improve their relationship. His relationship with HIS children is HIS business, and isn't mine unless there is something that mama NEEDS to step in for. I feel like I as a mother need to respect him too- Hope that didn't come out the wrong way- Sarah

  10. Sarah, you didn't offend me at all... on the contrary. I completely agree with you. It does cause strain on our relationship, and it isn't good for his relationship with my daughter if I am correcting him in the way he acts with her.
    He is a nice guy and a good parent, I think the main problem is not the way he is or isn't informed, I think it's the stress we're having, and the parenting is the only way I can act that out, because well, safe from this blog, it's rather all I have...

  11. I resonate with everything you listed as well. I think the main issue for me is dealing appropriately with my anger. Usually it is a mask for other feelings, usually frustration and I have to consciously repeat calming mantras when I feel myself getting agitated when I struggle with my son. In my family 'negative' emotions were encouraged to be suppressed as an unspoken rule and so naturally I never learned to deal with those feelings in a healthy way. It is difficult for me to teach my son differently when I struggle with that issue myself but I'm learning to, little by little!

  12. This was such an honest, touching post, which really resonated with me. I've shared it on my links post this week (like Alternative Mama, you're becoming a regular feature on there! :D):

  13. echoing mamabirth :) even when my husband does it differently and I might even disagree, I usually let it roll because the chemistry he brings to our home and his angle and his love is just as valid as mine - even without all the reading!

    This list is all of our lists.

    Surrender mama and just love them.


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