Why parenting is one of the hardest jobs
And it is a job. Full Time. For the rest of our lives. That’s one reason why it’s hard - because we can’t quit. We can’t give up. And we have to do it with intention, patience, and forgiveness for our children and for ourselves.
Parenting is one of those skills that is so human that it’s instinctive at the beginning when the baby is sleeping a lot and is so sweet when they’re awake. But the moment they develop a little understanding that they are a separate human being from you (around 16-18 months), they become more complicated and start behaving independently. Don’t take this personally! It’s natural for an animal to start walking away from its parents because they need to fend for themselves. Of course, an eagle fending themselves looks very different from a toddler learning to walk confidently, but it’s all the same - to be independent and to express oneself.
This is all to say: allow those early actions of independence to blossom naturally and instead of meeting them with irritation or fear. Children are watching the reactions we have when they run away from us or try to do something new. They’re experimenting. And discoveries and growth do not happen without experimentation. You know that. Their little minds are the most sophisticated computers on the planet (and that’s right - so is yours)! Taking cues, watching objects, navigating gravity, it’s all so that when they are ready, they can walk towards a chair or form their mouth around a sound that will cause a reaction. Support it all! Welcome it all! It encourages them to keep on growing and discovering.
Parents are like the safety parachute for a skydiver or the padded floor for a trapeze artist. It’s your job to navigate their bodies and actions, their growing consciousness, and yes, their bottomless heart full of love for you and only you … until they become teens. But to make sure they can navigate that world of human relations and risk then, you have to start now.
You have to instill their ability for self-love in the way you conduct your life and home. You have to repeat positive and supportive words that will create their inner dialogue during tough times. And most of all, you have to prove to them over and over that you love them and will always be there for them even when they don’t follow the rules, even when they don’t do the right thing. Because the most important job every parent really has is to help their child find out who they truly are. And you can only do that in a loving environment with firm boundaries, kindness and thorough understanding of what they are going through.
See, that wasn’t all that hard! And every parent can do it. And your child knows it. Because in another ethereal dimension, they chose you to be their parent. Now it’s up to you to step up to it: the most amazing job you will ever have.