Let’s all be honest and just come out and say it: parenting is FULL ON!
It’s equal parts joy, pride, love, exhaustion, exasperation, and desperation for a moment of peace. These conflicting emotions can cause so much guilt in parents: how can we simultaneously love our children with an intensity that hurts but also wish they would just disappear for 10 minutes so that we can drink a warm cup of coffee and stare into space uninterrupted so the maelstrom of our thoughts can be calmed?
This is the dichotomy of parenthood!
It’s the most challenging, most self-sacrificial and self-revealing thing we will ever do. It peels back our layers to reveal all sorts of ‘interesting’ things about us. Then throw full-time or part-time work and a pandemic into the mix and we have the perfect storm!
Our beliefs around parenting are somewhat skewed by the picture society has created of parents who can do it all with ease, and a perpetual smile on their faces and joy in their hearts. In reality the joy is not always there, some days we have to really seek it out because its ugly cousin resentment has taken up residence, and the smile slips more often than not. It’s also impossible to give 100% to a split focus when you’re a working parent, one thing is always going to get the short end of the stick, usually ourselves. Even when the focus is not split as a stay-at-home parent, spending the entire day satisfying every need of your little humans is just as exhausting as being a working parent without the benefit of any mental distraction or adult interaction.
Sending your young children to school does NOT make you a terrible parent! Parenting is as much about asking for and accepting help as anything else. It’s no slight on you or reflection on your ability as a parent to need help, or a break. Society has it all wrong forcing us to measure our worth and parental success by our ability to do it all perfectly on our own. If having 4 hours in the morning to work, or just be without your child is going to allow you to be a better parent for the remaining hours in the day then that makes you the BEST parent! It does your children no good to have a wrung out, strung out parent at home trying to do it all and be all things to everyone.
A few hours a day in a safe, loving, stimulating environment where they can play, socialize, learn and come home to a parent who has had time to fill their own cup is sometimes exactly what everyone needs.
When you become a parent you don’t cease to matter. Let’s say it again: you don’t cease to matter.
Yes, our children’s needs tend to take precedence, but if your needs go unmet you will be unable to satisfy their needs. So school it is!