The Lonely Planet of Parenting: How to be Comfortable in an Increasingly Uncomfortable World- Part 3
Let’s talk about doubt. Parental doubt is a regular occurrence in our world. We doubt our decisions, our rules, our speech. There is no parent handbook to tell us the right way to raise our children, so the only option is to figure out what works for us as individuals.
The pressure, however, to fit in the socially acceptable parenting “box” has become completely unattainable. Parents are asked to focus on their children’s academics, sports, musical talents, nutrition, and values. All while simultaneously spending quality time and promoting independence. There is always a balance to raising them right. The problem is that we are striving to impress society. We worry more about the external expectations, than our inner ones. When met with a concern or a challenge with our children we look to others for advice and compare ourselves to others and their situations. Comparison is the death of self confidence.
Have you ever felt great before a big meeting or a social event? You’re ready and bursting with excitement and then someone makes a judgmental comment or compares you to someone else completely deflating you? It takes seconds for the ego to kick in and make you feel like garbage. It is even worse when it comes to parenting since there are so many opinions about everything!
Most critical discussions that start with “could you believe” or “I would never” are other people’s insecurities speaking out loud. The more people that you have cheering on your decisions the more your ego will calm down. It gives comfort and reassurance that you are doing the “right thing”. You don’t really need “them”. You need to ask yourself factual questions about your situation, not someone else’s, just yours.
Are you worried that your child is not getting enough healthy food during the day because you are bombarded with Instagram posts of amazing “bento box” lunches? Is the truth that nutrients only come in fancy presentations? Figure out what is important to you and your child. Do they have food they will enjoy? Do they have food that they can eat in the time allotted? Are they hydrated? Will they have enough energy to get through the day? There are healthy snacks that my children enjoy that don’t travel well in the lunch box so these can be eaten at home. There is nothing worse than having food come home that has gone bad because they didn’t have enough time, or it was too awkward to eat in a classroom setting. Healthy lunches don’t have to be a display of your artistic or creative talent. If you enjoy doing this for your children, please keep doing it. If you dread every morning coming up with something exciting for them, please stop.
It is simple. Your kids love you because you are their parent. They want the same things that we want as adults. To feel loved, acknowledged, and safe. When you provide these things in the simplest way, they are satisfied. But, like you, your children need to figure things out for themselves. They need to show emotion, sometimes all of them at once, and experience things the hard way. We can’t take these whirlwinds of chaos personally or as a parenting failure. We all need to discover ourselves in our own way and at times that makes us feel like we are doing everything wrong. That doubt is your mind playing tricks. You just need to be there for your children, support and guide them the best you can, and they will come out on top. Kids will have cuts and bruises, broken hearts and triumphs. They will live their lives with their greatest supporters by their side. As long as they know you are there, you are doing it right!