My dears, I am currently writing a different kind of book. A book that some may find worthy of the label of blame, yet some may find inspiring. Below an excerpt, revealing true facts and my thoughts about that different part of parenting. A part that people usually try to hide under the rug for not exposing themselves as being weak and to avoid judgement. If you want to understand better the text below and if you haven’t done it already, first read my article called “I am, ask me…” And then come back to this text…
They say “Kids don’t come with an instructions manual”. Hooray, truth has been spoken! Ok, there are feeding books, raising books… blah, blah… none of them will ever teach you what to do when your kid has a fever at 3 am. And they throw up. And cry for no reason. And refuse you as a parent. And say “I want it now” or put up a show in the middle of a store. There are guidelines, yet each kid is unique. What fits yours, may have no effect over mine. Furthermore, what seems to be working well on one of my kids, will definitely not apply to the other.
Only you, as a parent, know what applies to your kid. Oh, no, wait! Not even you know… what works the first time (and you’re so happy you found a way!), will not work the second time. If you can’t adapt, you’re screwed. There, I said it.
Ready to find out even a funnier part? Ok, then here you are… and there are so many…
You know those moments when you get home, mostly dead than walking on your 2 feet? Those times you could crash at any given moment and wish to sleep till morning comes? Well, I do. Bonus? Add up 2 kids and all the damage they leave behind in just a half an hour and you’ll get the most exciting experience ever.
Then, i’m the kind of mom to be summoned by the kindergarten psychologist, because one of her kids is a mess. But still there’s a chance for make things right. The child is still in early ages and a bit of therapy will help everyone, in every possible way. After this session with that warm-hearted woman, I realized what a mess I actually am. I understood that, as much as I dislike masks, I was wearing one in front of my own self, for the past 2 years. Just to keep myself going, to not allow myself to be human, as I had no chance to recover if I ever fell. All responsibility for these 2 kids is fully mine and, if – God forbid – anything happens to me, they would be helpless. But you see, maybe even this is not right. Because they have grandparents and a father. But I would never forgive myself if I knew it was me driving their little steps towards wrecked teenagers. I want my kids to be sane, not to carry baggage that aren’t theirs.
Last night I cried my soul out. But the heart-melting thing? My kids wrapped their arms around me, comforting my pain, telling me what a beautiful and good mommy I am. “Don’t you forget that, mom. We love you and we would never want to lose you!” They wiped my tears, one brought me handkerchiefs to blow my nose and the other one the tools to clean up the make-up on my messy face.
Now you tell me… considering all these, how can I let myself fall? How can I not tell my kids how beautiful and strong and amazing creatures they are and boost them the trust and self-esteem they need for becoming healthy grown-ups? How can I not do anything to bring them up as independent strong women, that can do anything they put their minds to? How can I?
You may find my crying in front of them a gesture to be blamed. Yet, as young as they are, life isn’t a fairytale. And they need to learn that everyone makes mistakes (even mommy), but it’s important to take responsibility for one’s action and make things right.
Kids put their parents on a stainless steel pedestal, beautifully imagined as a kingdom wrapped in gold and filled with jewelry and happiness. But they need to realize that we are all human. Everyone has there right to cry and it’s healthy to do so. Everyone has the right to speak their minds. Everyone needs to be forgiven and supported on the path to becoming their best version. And wiping my tears and hugging me last night was a lesson neither they or I will ever forget: compassion is what comforts a soul and love is what keeps a human being alive and help them rise again and again, till the end of time.
Parenting is just like a roller coaster: when you think you reached the peak, by having all covered, the down slope shows up. Amplified by tiredness, dissatisfaction and frustrations. Someone says “No rest for the wicked”… But, guess what, everyone deserves to rest, for battery recharge. Even the most wicked ones. Then, why wouldn’t you, as a (single) parent, have this right? Yet, the full-time job as a parent stands tall in front of you and tells you: “Now you are not allowed to do that, or that or say that and do things considering nothing and no-one else but yourself”. ‘Cause you can’t! You have destinies in your hands and you need to shape them the right way. You can’t let them fall to pieces, rather you need to build them up.
Dear reader, please take the lesson of dropping the judgement and remove the label of “This is only complaining”. It is not. Rather, embrace the fact that people may have different views over events in their lives; think that there may be other people facing the same, but not having the strength to go public about it. And accept the fact that we’re all human beings, making mistakes. What’s important – and I will emphasise this as much as I can – is not to hide the pain, or lie or run away from it. The important thing is to LEARN from each and every situation we face. To let ourselves be – in the means of avoiding placing the blame to anyone – but to have the courage to face the truth and correct it.
Being the kind of independent woman, helping others but being harsh on herself, isn’t easy. At some point, life strikes one so bad for a purpose: learn to ask for and accept if help is being provided. Thinking that you can do everything on your own is just a fantasy you find out not being the way you imagined. A dream you don’t want to wake up from, for not letting people you care about down. But guess what: help usually comes from people you never expected it from and who don’t let your mistakes destroy your image in front of their eyes. It comes from people who are willing to hold your hand and take you across the unsteady bridge between depression and lighter days. From people who chose to lift you up when you’re a complete mess, yet ask for nothing in return.
So, don’t shut yourself from the world (neither run and yell your pain on the streets in bare feet). But let those walls down, accept your imperfections and build yourself up, with the help of the ones that offer you a shoulder to support you through stormy weather. But you need to, first, ask for it. There will be few times that people ask you why your eyes are swollen. And even fewer times when people realize something is going on with you without you having to say a word. Acknowledging that people usually can’t read minds will make you see how important communication is. And its free-of-charge benefits.
All these are facts exposed by a person that wasn’t that fortunate to have a reliable partner and a life-lasting kind of relationship. I will not disclose more, but you should know this: is better to carry everything alone than sharing void with someone. Yes, it’s hard,especially on a physical level, yet you get to learn a lot, you have the chance to know yourself better after each fall and rise episode. You discover that inner strength and the star-dust in your eyes – things you were kept from by a toxic relationship. Oh, and you discover gems in the shapes of people you would never see as such.
And when someone compliments the way you brought up your kids… Boy, that’s worth all the struggle. And you think to yourself: “Hard work does pay off!”