I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal.
We have to lovingly make way for the duality of parenting. It’s joyful and lonely. It nourishes and depletes. It’s tender and maddening. We discover the richest, most luminescent parts of ourselves, while we feel other parts go missing for a while.
We are selfless, loving, and nurturing. And sometimes we aren’t. It was never meant to be about perfection. It’s about love, and love is never perfect. It’s honest, raw, pure. It’s irrational and infuriating. It’s beautiful, life-giving, and imperfect. So are we. So are our children. Let’s no give them a ridiculous ideal to live up to by expecting ourselves or our parenting to be otherwise.
However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won’t do this perfectly, because we can’t always know what mountains they’ll need to climb, or what dragons they’ll need to slay. We won’t always know what they’ll need, and we won’t always be able to give it. We don’t need to. But we’ll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won’t. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting.
We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It’s worth every second – every second – but it’s tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment – loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise – all of it. Great parents can feel all of it. Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren’t perfect. Love isn’t perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans – real ones, with feelings, who don’t need to be perfect, and wont need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us.
Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let’s not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.