You know how you hear stories of parents who do unspeakably bad things to children and you think “I could never do that!”? And then you hear stories of amazing parents who adore their kids, go through tremendous hardships with them and still manage to have the grace to parent beautifully and successfully and you think “I could never do that!”? Yeah, I’m right there with you. There’s no question in my mind that I would ever be a terrible, cruel or even ineffective parent. But sometimes, I wish I was more of a saint, which I think the parents are in that second scenario.
I see parents go through much more difficult things than I do with my children and I just don’t know if I could handle it. Could I be that good, kind, giving and emotionally strong to handle everything that comes along? I really have my doubts. Sometimes I’m disappointed in myself for the things that just flatten me regarding the kids. Shouldn’t I be able to handle these things better? Snarky words, their issues, bad grades or attitude – stuff I should be able to handle as a parent – can leave me just crumpled.
Nothing prepares you for parenthood, or for life for that matter. All I can do is send up a prayer for guidance and strength, talk to Thomas and others and make sure I am as strong within myself as I can be to withstand whatever comes up. Still, I wish being resilient, kind-hearted and understanding beyond reason came easily.
I’ll readily admit I hear stories about these amazing parents and simultaneously think “I don’t know if I could take that on” and “Thank goodness I don’t have to take that on.” I agree with Courtney that neither of us feels we have “the stuff” to handle really big issues.
But once I was talking to a co-worker whose toddler was born with cancer and spent his three years of life battling it, only to pass away. Horrible! I said to her “You are so strong. You’re an amazing person to have been able to cope with everything these three years.” She said to me simply “What choice did I have? You do what must be done.”
I guess that’s it – when faced with really hard things, you do just do what needs to be done which doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes crumble under the weight of it. All that matters is that you get back up and keep getting back up every time. We parents need to cut ourselves some slack for not being perfect. And we need to be grateful for the good fortune we have and find the inner strength when we don’t.