Parenting shouldn’t be hard. People worldwide have been doing it for buckets of years, nothing new there then, everyone’s doing it. So tell me – why does it feel so much friggin’ harder?
Nowadays, people don’t shove their kids out of the house in the morning to go exploring the streets and countryside, and to meander on home in time for tea. No, are we more afraid because we are more aware? Back in the day, I was gone for hours on end. My parents had no idea where I was.
Today we know exactly where our kids are – all of the time.
Most of us don’t have villages to call on to help raise our kids, the family unit is more cellular. My family is dotted around the world, and though I am fortunate that I can call on my mother for help, she is the only ‘help’ we have and I am cautious to not over use it. (I often envy those lion prides on National Geographic where all those females rally round together to raise each other’s cubs.)
Was stress as big as it is today? People are genuinely making themselves sick, as the stresses and strains of daily living impacts most households, and financial woes contribute to anxiety in a huge percentage of homes. Do our kids today receive too much? I had a couple of toys that I loved and that I still own today. What about the clothes? I remember desperately wanting a pair of Doc Martins and I did get them. Five years later. Not immediately. Most kids today have pretty vast wardrobes.
Parents before didn’t beat themselves up over their kid’s inner emotions.
Now, we seem to spend half our time worrying if they are confident, secure, possess good self esteem and whether we are spending enough time with them, whilst washing the dishes, cooking the meals, doing the homework, refereeing fights, driving them back and forth etc.
Have they eaten healthily? Healthy eating is way up there as a stress factor in my household. ‘Eat your broccoli!‘ I holler to my kids (whilst muttering ‘Goddamnit!‘ silently under my breath), who would contently live on a diet regime of Cheerios 364 days, excluding Christmas day when the turkey and all its trimmings is king.
Are we spending too much time trying to perfect the art of parenting?
I mean lets face it, along with beauty, parenting is a billion, gazillion dollar industry. Yet… most of us are still caught in the headlights when we are handed our first child. What? I have to go home now? With the baby? OK,… can the midwife come too?
Navigating the day to day challenges of keeping our babies safe (to turn or not to turn), circumventing the perpetual stream of after school activities, play dates, technology that specifically target our children and impinge our parenting beliefs. Are we doing too much for our kids? Is this why parents today seem more tired? Will we finally have more time to ourselves?
Do we need to just take chill pills, let our kids be and stop all the micro managing?
There is no right or wrong in this gig. You go with your instincts and pray that little Alice won’t be traumatised in her forties for having a psycho mum that forced her to swallow down spinach smoothies…
Hmmm, maybe I’ll just stop….then I won’t be traumatised either.