It’s hard to become a professor, but it’s easy to be. With parents, it is exactly the opposite – these are the words that echo in my head since I came across a thread on one of the social networking sites about the growing aversion to their children among parents. You know it? Know that being a parent is Art with a capital “S” and even the best sometimes have worse moments.
Imaginations and reality
We stay at home for the next week, with the same people. What, until recently, seemed a longed-for reality (time for myself, my children, playing together, endless conversations, etc.) turns out to be an increasingly difficult challenge every day, the more aggravating it is impossible to plan. We do not know how long this situation will last. The frustration is deepened by the constant fear, not only of getting sick, but also the sense of responsibility that my illness may become a drama for other people – children, spouse, grandparents, neighbors, people whom I helped …
Albert Einstein once said: Our life is neither better nor worse than our dreams. It’s just completely different. What if we tried to look from this perspective? Regardless of where we are in our personal, professional or family life, our imaginations did not take into account such unusual circumstances as we are now experiencing. Looking deeper, many aspects of our pre-epidemic life are different than what we imagined. We will compare the expectations of a few or a dozen years ago: Who am I personally? What is my professional life like? What were my ideas about family and children? Probably not much is correct. I think this is the most beautiful thing in life. We live here and now. We can do a lot with this extra time: it can be used for personal development and the development of your loved ones (in various respects), it can be wasted, experiencing the disappointments of ruining our plans. Neither we nor our life is like in dreams, but it is not worse or better, it is just completely different. What is certain? We are connected by love and affection, even if we do not always have a lot of patience, if the irritation is stronger, we do not like our behavior, we are still the same loving people.
Which makes it difficult to be here and now
Staying in a small space every day and constantly (even if it is a house with a garden), performing similar activities, fighting for the ability to focus at the keyboard (because working and learning remotely), taking care of the well-being of your loved ones and yourself, worries and fears every day bigger is a reality for many parents. You can at least partially make it more survivable by avoiding a few mistakes that frustrate us.
Concentrating on the fear of what I do not know, I cannot predict, and therefore I am not able to prepare myself for this reality. This means that the effort I put into my work and taking care of all domestic or family matters is disproportionate to the results. My family sees my anxiety infect my household and drives a spiral of frustration. Similarly with work. Most parents who have started working remotely have no experience in this field. Difficulties arise, and if these troubles add to the constant worry that I am not working as efficiently as before, I extend the working time so that the result is more satisfactory for me. Effect? I have no time for myself, my children and other family members. This way you get upset again … and a vicious circle is created. Maybe it’s worth focusing on here and now, let’s set a plan for the next day together with the family, and let’s get through it together. Separating what you can’t control from what you can change helps a lot to stay focused on tasks and protects you (at least in part) from worrying too much.
- Striving for achievement at any cost
This attitude makes rest and self-care a waste of time. And reality shows that if we do not rest and do not care about our well-being, our productivity at work decreases, and relationships with loved ones also deteriorate. Paradoxically, by taking care of ourselves and resting, we invest in the quality of our work and relationships with others.
This also applies to children. The more pressure we put on a child to perform excellently, the greater the risk of losing bond and closeness becomes. The young person may feel such parental behavior as conditioning love with the child’s successes. Reasonable requirements, but also taking care of rest and well-being, can support our children in their pursuit of success according to their own measure and expectations.
The pursuit of being perfect can poison the lives of us and everyone around us. The employee-perfectionist works until he is completely exhausted. He constantly introduces corrections to the task already completed, not only his own, but also other people who, according to him, have not achieved the appropriate effect. The perfectionist-parent controls his child in how he learns, how to perform tasks, requires constant improvement of results, he can even torment the family in its pursuit of excellence. At the same time, she forgets that children are separate entities. They don’t have to be perfect in everything, just like we don’t have to be the perfect parent and worker of the month. There are steps to a good job and a job well done. And mistakes? They show the possibility of change for the better, they are a springboard to motivate change, not only those who do not work.
So what kind of parent am I?
That is the question! In order to answer them, one has to bet another one: Who is the most important in the world to me? For whom am I making efforts for the future? Who releases my tenderness in me? You can probably multiply these questions, but the answer to most of them is probably: my child, although today he made me furious with his behavior … He is my child, although I had to stop work to resolve the conflict between siblings … He is my child, although today he I hate because I dream of a respite in loneliness, and she still wants something … This is my child, imperfect like me, impatient like me, tired of the situation like me, scared by what is happening like me, frustrated by the reality that has nothing to do with the one that was our everyday life … I don’t have to be a great parent. It is enough for me to be ordinary, everyday, close to my child, that I am tired, impatient, pissed off… And I have the right to do so, just as it has it. And if I’m tempted to wonder that I hate my children… well, they probably have moments like that too. Maybe it’s high time to talk to them about it?