This evening I read a fantastic blog post that is doing ‘the rounds’ at the moment. Written by Steve Wiens, who happens to be a husband, Dad, pastor and runner, this blog post speaks to parents of small children in a very real and honest way, tinged with a good dose of humour.
I bet Pastor Steve was not expecting this post to create quite the stir it has. But it has. Not sure how many tweets today have been talking about it, but the number of facebook shares for this post are well over 3,000 already.
You see this open letter to parents of small children addresses the fact that we’re all bone-weary. We’re all hopelessly head over heals in love with our little munchkins. We’re all learning how to handle the very (often) demanding personalities, needs and desires of our offspring. And we’re all desperately trying to enjoy, yes to even savour every single. blessed. moment. When not every moment is even slightly enjoyable. Truth.
What interests me is how well-received this post is turning out to be. Yes the writer does a fantastic job, I love the humour, I get the honesty, I get it all, I really do.
What stands out for me though is, we’re starving. We – parents – of all cultural backgrounds, of all walks of life, whatever our socio-economic status – we’re starving for permission. Permission to just get on and do it. Permission to parent as best we can. Permission to feel like we can do this, and in fact we are doing it. Permission to stop comparing ourselves with others, our bambinos with other bambinos. Permission to help each other, be the best we can be.
We applaud Steve Wiens for writing such a great piece and we receive it, we embrace it. We want to know we’re doing an ok job with parenting. We want to know that others struggle with the very same issues that keep us awake at night, that drive us to create engaging and colourful chore charts/ potty training schemes and help memorize spelling lists/ state capitols and the periodic table….
I look at my facebook list of friends, and I’m thrilled to say that I see each and every parent there is an active and involved parent. Yes we’re all on a very long and hard journey. Yes to some of us parenting comes more naturally than others and some of us were blessed with better childhoods than others so we have a few more clues about parenting than others…..but every single parent I know is doing their darndest to do the very best they can.
So why don’t we encourage more?
Why don’t we point out brilliant behaviour when we see it?
Why don’t we thank our neighbours for their kids’ marvellous manners when we hear them (yeah Frosti and Kurtis I’m talking to you!).
Why don’t we tell the other Mum at school pick up time how well their kid is doing with new reading skills?
Why don’t we smile at the exhausted parents of a houdini toddler, and tell them that yes their kid is a ‘busy’ kid, but by golly that’s leadership material?
We’re starving. Parents of small kids especially but I don’t think it gets much better as the kids get older. We still need permission from each other to get frustrated by the challenges we face, we need to know it is ok to put the clocks forward an hour(stealthily – unseen by the kids who can actually tell time) to hasten bedtime when we need to and we need to celebrate the victories together. Big victories. Small victories. We’re in this together.
Let’s try to feed each other’s souls just a little bit more, yes? After all, one day my three boys are hopefully going to marry……we could be parents in-law one day to your little princess……
Let’s try not to starve, together.