You Mean I Chose This?

Admit it, on some of your most difficult parenting days you find yourself asking “Why me?” If so, read on…

Parent Tango
Could we be more “zen” about parenting if we saw the bigger picture?

Flipping around TV channels the other night, I paused on an interview with a monk who was talking about reincarnation. Now, I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation (I’ll find out when it does or doesn’t happen to me) but it’s an interesting notion, nonetheless.

He talked about the idea of people choosing the life they’re about to enter, consciously, based on what they need to learn to become better people. In other words, we “choose” the experiences we need to have in order to grow.

I was listening to this at the end of a long day of parenting when the kids hadn’t been especially cooperative or even nice. I was not feeling good about or successful at parenting at all. In fact, I was questioning how I was going to muster up the whatever-it-was-going-to-take to deal with it all the next day. I’m pretty sure every parent reading this can relate to these feelings.

The idea boils down to suggesting that we are not flailing along, victims of our own lives, but instead, we are in tandem with our lives, constantly learning how to do it better to become better people. So that temper tantrum your child has in the store? It’s a lesson presenting itself. That teenager who rolls their eyes at you because you couldn’t possibly understand? It’s a lesson presenting itself. Your partner working late again, leaving you with more household and parenting duties than one person should have to take on? It’s a lesson presenting itself. Look at life this way and it’s a much more of a grand-scheme-of-things concept and we have a lot of say in how it all goes.

What does this mean for me going forward? Well, especially in the realm of parenting, it means that I shouldn’t allow myself to feel overwhelmed by parenting or throw up my hands in resignation when it seems like all of my efforts are for naught. And most importantly, I shouldn’t think of life as something being done to me! Instead, it means every opportunity is just that, an opportunity to do it better. Every day, every experience is a chance to handle things better, have a more positive perspective and improve as a person, wife, mother and daughter and that’s a very good thing. For all the good and the bad that we experience in life, it’s about learning and growing – like our very own, very personalized, self-improvement plan.

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