The big kids were climbing a tree, the middle ones kicking a ball around, and the little ones were playing on the play ground. It was one of those rare moments when none of our kids needed us, or wanted us, and we had a moment to have a Mum chat.
You know what a ‘mum chat’ is right? It’s one of those incidental conversations you have with another Mum that somehow saves your life.
As we sat on the picnic rug and watched our kids tear around the park like lunatics I heard her sigh.
“I’m not sure if this parenting thing is really hard, or it’s just that I suck at parenting…”
She had not even finished the sentence when I started replying.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s just really really hard.”
She smiled a tired smile, and I knew she understood.
“Parenting is hard…. or maybe I suck at parenting too. Maybe we both suck at it” I said.
We both laughed, but as we sat discussing some of the tough things we’d both been dealing with lately, a sense of relief washed over me.
Parenting is hard, and I am not the only one who feels like they suck at it.
It’s hard when they are babies that never stop crying and it’s hard when they are teenagers that never stop rolling their eyes. And it’s hard at all the stages in between and all the stages afterwards.
Just when you think you have made it through a hard patch and surely things will get better, something else pops up. Just when you finish one job the next one slots into place.
And sometimes you wonder… is it just me?
Am I the only one who can’t seem to break out of this cycle of hard stuff?
Am I the only one who finds parenting so hard sometimes?
What if I suck at parenting?
But it’s not just you, you don’t suck at parenting, parenting is actually really hard.
But hard doesn’t always mean bad.
As we chatted the hard things turned into challenges, which morphed into achievements. Ok so the achievements were small, and the challenges were still ongoing, and our lives were still anything but calm and peaceful, but we were working on it, and even occasionally making progress. And above all else, we knew we were not alone.
So here’s what I learned from that ‘Mum chat’, on that sunny afternoon, in the park…
Hard isn’t always bad.
Don’t forget to look for the little achievement and moments of joy.
And find a friend and have one of those life saving Mum chats. Let the relief of suddenly realising you are not the only one who thinks they suck at parenting wash of you. Let the Mum chat save you, so you can get up and keep trying.
If you are going through a rough patch and maybe thinking you suck at parenting, you are not alone!
You can have one of those live saving Mum chats on the phone, in texts, or even on facebook if there is no one close by to share one in person. It doesn’t matter, how you do it, just do it. Or maybe you can reach out to a Mum friend who may be struggling. There is such power in realising you are not the only one going through this stuff!
If you need a little more convincing that you are not alone, maybe reading some of these might help…