• Alice Irving

Parenting is HARD but I’m still committed

Ever felt like you’re somehow getting the job all wrong just because you’re finding it difficult?


I’m having a hard time with my kids at the moment. Actually, no, I’m having a hard time with mySELF at the moment. I’m feeling very snappy and a little out of my skin and my patience (son 1 is especially familiar with this word) is unreliable, to say the least.


I’m someone who thinks that the parent’s job is crucially important, to be taken very seriously and valued highly. Evenso the truth is that in the day to day crucible of Life With My Kids I struggle.


In fact, I do more than that.


I would say, metaphorically speaking, that I throw in the towel multiple times a day, give up and surrender to the Wig Out goddess, sometimes repeatedly before breakfast.


I make it sound funny but really it isn’t.


The worst bit of it is feeling like a failure just for FEELING like it's hard. For feeling like I’d rather come first actually thank you.


So I had a really nice little spark from Dr Seuss today, courtesy of my brother-in-law-with-impeccable-present-buying-credentials and it cheered me no end.


Horton Hatches the Egg is a longish tale about a lazy old bird who can’t be bothered to sit on her nest. After giving it a short try she thinks “stuff this” and ropes in the first unsuspecting passer-by to take over.


Horton takes on the job (bless his trunk) but calamity befalls him and he gets shipped off to America to be a sideshow freak.


It's all pretty miserable and “Horton grew sadder the farther they went.”


There’s picture after picture of poor old Horton looking resigned and fed up, carefully perched on his nest and his charge.


And so here’s what I got: he’s having a really hard time. But he’s keeping the circumstance separate from his mission.





So, I’m going to take a cue from that elephant and keep my current circumstances separate from my bigger mission.


He signed up for sitting on the nest and he’s sticking with that. “An elephant’s faithful one HUNDRED PER CENT.” He’s not blaming it on the egg but he’s also OK about looking fed up and miserable to his BONES.


Somehow feeling cross and upset and under strain was getting thrown into the same pot as my bigger mission to be a lovely mum and enjoy growing my children. I’ve been acting like I want to throw it ALL out of the window.

The thing is I really do still want to be a lovely mum enjoying parenthood, no matter how grumpy I get.


I like what Horton is telling me: that I can feel rotten, know that it would be a hell of a lot easier if I hadn’t committed to be here and still say – I DO want to be here, doing this, with you - and I AM faithful to it ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.


I’m ALLOWED to say crikey this is almost harder than I can imagine and it doesn’t mean I have to give up because I’m not good enough.


I’m not a failure because of it. I reckon I’m allowed to maintain maximum respect for myself even though I’d rather be somewhere else just now.


The reality is that I’m here, I’m still at it and I’m going to be still at it till this job is done. Despite how I feel sometimes. I’m still keeping at it – not just in body but in spirit, giving everything I can – and I think that’s a pretty good deal, all in all.


Whatever we’ve committed to, know that it will be hard and we will want to give up at times.


Doesn’t make anyone a failure. Because you can still keep going while having difficult feelings. Stop trying to be a spiritually perfect person who never has dark thoughts. If you don’t get hung up on how horrid you feel, you might even save some space for remembering all the blessings that come with the path you’ve taken.


You can still be faithful.


ONE HUNDRED PER CENT!


This blog post was written way back in 2013 but was dug out again as we’re in a nationwide lockdown with schools closed and many parents finding it HARD.




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