Parents are also People

Photo from Getty Images www.telegraph.co.uk

Photo from Getty Images www.telegraph.co.uk

“Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.” 
― Cheryl Lacey Donovan, The Ministry of Motherhood

 

It’s a common theme right now – I see it over and over again on cheesy social media posts – how rewarding parenting is, how ‘special’ and ‘wise’ children are, how exceptional and precious the bonds are between parent and child.

And then there are all the posts people encourage you to share about having an awesome father or a wonderful mother.

These days, more than ever, it’s expected that parents will be engaged with their children, that they’ll actively parent them and give them access to every opportunity and possibility so that they can grow up to be exceptional, after having had the best possible start in life.

I hear all sorts of things in my job as a psychic.  But one of the most common confessions is from parents – admitting to me how hard they find their situation.  There are some who even regret ever having had a family of their own. And there is terrible guilt with that. There is shame at the feelings of resentment or fatigue, there is despair that the parenting journey is less ‘special’ and more ‘hard work’…

The other thing I hear, more than you might imagine, is the pain adults feel (especially around Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and other family centered holidays) when they do not have a good relationship with their own parents, either now, or because their childhood was difficult.

The media holds up all these examples of happy families, and that perfect extended circle of love.

But that’s not what families and parenting is all about…

Parents are people.  The act of parenthood does not suddenly bestow upon you a saintly grace and the ability to park all your own hopes, dreams and needs so that you can put your children first in all things. Indefinitely.

Parenting is a role, a function, a work in progress, for some an act of love, for others an act of duty.  Parenting is a huge responsibility and a lot of hard work. There is sacrifice. And there is pain. But there is hopefully also reward, joy and connection.

It is not a given that the relationship between children and parents will be smooth, loving or fulfilling. And the dynamic changes from day to day.

For those of you who have experienced difficult relationships with your own parents, I can say this:

You chose them.  And for whatever reason, they have given you a lot of what you need to become the person that you are.  When there is a lack, we learn to fulfill that for ourselves.  We become stronger, or more independent. We learn to grow and overcome.

Let’s be clear – you are not responsible for the behaviour of your parents, and you did not cause them to treat you in a particular way.  It’s not your fault.  Parents are people, and people are flawed. As an adult you can choose to find other role models, support and mentors in your life to fill the place that’s left wanting from the lack in your own relationship with a parent.

Find a place of forgiveness in your heart, and let go of expectation. Sometimes, when we’ve cleared away the hurt and energetic debris, we find that we can begin again, in a new way of relating, and form a relationship that works better for us. And sometimes, we just need to let go and move on. Being born is not an automatic recipe for a sense of family, for love, nurture and ongoing supportive relationships. Not every story has a Disney ending.

For those of you who are parents:

It’s normal to get overwhelmed sometimes, with all that is expected of you as a parent.  It’s normal to have days where you want to run away, where you resent your children and momentarily wish they’d never been born. Because the truth is EVERYONE feels like that sometimes.  They just don’t admit it.  I mean, who could, when we are surrounded by images and expectations that parenting is this joyous, wonderful and endlessly fulfilling journey?

In becoming a parent you often forget that you are still a person. You are the same person you were before you had children, except that you’re stretched now in different ways.  You still have needs and wants.  There are still dreams.  This is normal and natural.  You are not a bad person for wanting to have some space in life for YOU.  You are here to walk your own path, and fulfill your own destiny, and (except for a handful of you) only part of that will involve the act of parenting.

It’s always going to be struggle to maintain your own relationships and interests when you have others who are dependent upon you.

And it’s going to be even harder when your children tell you that they don’t like you, or scream I HATE YOU.  Of course you’re ruining their life.

The stakes are so high these days.  So much is expected of parents. YOU expect so much of yourself…

So what can you do?

Love helps.  Love helps us to find that space of being able to give when we honestly feel that we can’t.  Love helps us to cope when no-one is grateful for our efforts or our sacrifice. Love – that honest love without conditions – grows us into better people; it matures us and helps us find those reserves deep within that let us achieve far more than we could have ever hoped.

You are a person, even when you are a parent. Make space for your own interests and relationships. Find a little time for yourself.  To not honour your own needs is to create a recipe for resentment, and nothing good grows in that space!

Know that love is a deep-seated emotion.  Even when kids are screaming at you, ignoring you or completely taking you for granted, there can be great love BENEATH what’s currently being acted out. Can’t you remember behaving like this when you were their age?

There are times in every family when a child does not like a parent or a parent does not like a child.  It doesn’t mean there is no love there – it just means that right now you’re not gelling. Families have friction. Frictions causes growth.  As a parent it is not your job to be liked – it is your job to parent!

Kids push our buttons.  It often brings up our own deep-seated childhood insecurities.  Funny, that!

Keep on loving, and do your best.  Try to find some room for fun, and for relaxing.

If you don’t have kids, or they’re not your own biological children?

There’s always a role to play in supporting and guiding and loving others. You can be involved and you can make a difference. Sometimes, it’s the people outside our immediate family who become the most important people in our lives.

We’re all just people.  And people need love, dreams of their own, and a sense of belonging.

Image from mashable

Image from mashable

 

34 thoughts on “Parents are also People

  1. Oh so honest and true, I love reading your blogs, especially when it feels you are posting them for me lol : ) it is all stuff I know, but just dont do! funny how I can listen to you, but not myself….. 🙂 slowly but surely I am, thank you x

  2. As a mother of three and an only child this hit home on so many levels! thanks for reminding me to give myself permission to be human and not try to be supermum all the time :D! Parenting is ridiculously stressful…and yet I could not imagine my life any other way.

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  4. Love, love, love this. Perfect, and so true <3 I have been bitter on Mother's Day every year because of the relationship with my Mother. Now she has recently passed and it is my first Mother's Day with my daughter, so I'm looking forward to it. Thank you 🙂

  5. Well said, Nicole. I have been through quite a journey in my own life with child-rearing, where at times I’ve had to be patient and trust that my love was strong enough to prevail. Thankfully, it did, and the relationships I enjoy with my two grown children are testament to it. But it is always nice to be reminded we are just people trying to do the best we can.

  6. Lovely post filled with great points of advice. Must be something in the ether, as have been having this discussion with a few people around me who are on the early stages of the parenting path.

    Lucky for my journery as both daughter and mum that I had a mother who not tradtionally maternal is very much a Lightworker, so came at it from a different angle. My own entrance into parenthood (relatively now days, young) was such an act of god I spent my pregnancy and first few years spinning with “what just happened”. It’s only now many, many years later I am learning I am my own person too – and all that comes with learning that. We choose our parents (& in turn our children choose us) and then the lessons as parents we think we’re going to do, may not even resonate and yet things we give barely a passing glance have a lasting impact. Much like all other relationships we have.

    Namaste.

  7. Reblogged this on Gippsland Granny and commented:
    from Cauldrons and Cupcakes a blog post Parents are also People. I was talking to someone last night who was saying how overwhelming he found the job of parenting. This post would have helped him feel a bit better about himself.

  8. As per usual wonderful timing. As one of those handful of people who will never do the parenting thing, I often wanted to cry these words out to my friends and family who are. Instead I sit there in silence and listen to them, as a non-parent you are not allow to have an opinion. Over the years I have lost count of the number of parents who have secretly whispered in my ear “If I did it all again,I would live my life like you. Don’t get me wrong I love my kids but………” and that is ok because their secret is safe with me, but it would be some much nicer (and easier) if we could be more honest about parenting.

    • Don’t ever underestimate your ability as a non-parent to have a lasting and positive influence on parents and children. I wish for more honesty too, about parenting, love relationships, sex, money and all that stuff. Life’s already hard enough without all of this made-up BS about what things are supposed to look like.

  9. thankyou for an honest and insightful perspective on this. there is so much pressure on parents – most of it put on by ourselves! i think every parent would benefit from a more realistic portrayal of family life and parent-hood. it’s hard yakka!

  10. This reminds me of when I was a horrible teenager, giving my poor parents considerable grief. My mum said something to me that has stuck with me all these years – “Sometimes I really don’t like you, but I’ll always love you.” Every parent who tries their best is doing a wonderful job, and even if your kids don’t appreciate it at the time, all the love you show will pay off in the end.

    • What a terrific thing for your mum to say. And I look at the beautiful relationship you have with your parents now, Lorna, and I hope that gives lots of parents hope that their ‘horrible teenagers’ will turn out just fine. Big hugs and love to you xx

  11. Dear Nicole thank you as usual for a timely and common sense blog. I blame tv….I mean who sails in to the kitchen immaculately coiffed smiling whilst blissfully engaged in daintily sprinkiling golden flakes of corn in to the cereal bowels of her adoring teens or toddlers before her spouse sweeps in jacket slung over his shoulder grabbing her for a manly embrace before he strides off to work. Of course im being funny,……switch to real life 3 children under 4 just 2 hands and a path and one gate to get through to get to the car…..oh how I called out to the universe to beam me down a fully trained sheep dog to round them up as they scattered and made their repective runs for it (in 3 bloomin different directions!) whilst my employers clock ticked those minutes mockingly away…….there is something so deliciously messy and funny or even tragic about real life….my beautiful sullen gazing at finger nails daughter rolling her eyes whilst totally astounding me with common sense and a fairly substantive and wonderful personality and opinion of her own and our sons also…..and my very lovely common sense sister who couldnt have children but gifts us so much and helps sort out soooo much stuff that life throws our way or should I say that life and the universe gently asks to learn…..much love Nicole you are such a wonderful teacher and good good woman in my book….xxx

  12. Your posts are so tuned-in to exactly where I am, and obviously where others are as well. The past few days I was not understanding my mother as a *person* but through the lens of my expectations. Then, my great-uncle shared a Thich Nhat Hanh meditation with me about remembering that our parents were once little children, just as we ourselves were once little children. When my mother got on my last nerve today and I heard her saying she’d only had 2 hours of sleep, I thought ‘poor little sweetheart’ in spite of my frustration, and thought of a tired child. Tired children are notorious for behaving impossibly, and along those lines, I had it easy because I was dealing with someone who did not need to be picked up and carried…. though she might not have minded.
    It makes me want to cry- how angrily and unkindly I behave sometimes.

  13. thank you for your wonderful post Nicole. i feel very honoured that my daughter chose me as her mother not only because I adore her but because parenthood is my greatest and hardest journey. you’re so right about connecting with love to get through the challenges. I’d also add prayer/meditation helps. my guides and angels hear from me regularly (usually me saying “help” lol) and i am often amazed how they respond. yes, it is very hard to fulfil your hopes and dreams with someone dependant on you, but my thinking is that if we do this then hopefully children can reach for theirs too. admittedly i’m still figuring out the way to achieve mine, lol!!! xoxoxo

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