I was talking to an equine nutritionist the other day (yes, that is a real occupation!) and I was telling her how hard this certain horse is – recovering from major colic surgery, history of ulcers, etc, etc – and said something to the effect that having a horse can be such a crapshoot in terms of health and what happens! You do all you can do, and there still comes a point where it is all out of your hands. And she said, oh yes, but we love them anyway, and if experienced horse people tell you about the reality of that probably no one new would even want to be around horses. LOL.
Well, isn’t it kind of the same with parenting and children?
I see some many mothers who feel so insecure. Maybe I am parenting wrong. Maybe I am homeschooling wrong. So much is riding on this. Suppose I screw my children up in some way? My friends and family are telling me their concerns with my parenting and homeschooling are x, y, and z. This parenting thing is so hard! How can I figure it out? I am positive Susie down the street is doing it better! No one’s children are having as many problems as my children! I can’t do this!
Mostly, I hear this insecurity a lot from moms who have children under the age of 9 and/or who are new to homeschooling, and then things stabilize a bit in the years of 9-14 and then the insecurity comes back in the later teen years. In a way, parental insecurity in during the teen years also gets worse because parents feel isolated. We cannot often talk about what is going on with our teens without violating their trust and the unfolding of this other person, this other person’s story is no longer ours to tell.
The reality is that we all feel insecure at different times in our parenting (but hopefully not all the time!). We all want to do what is right by our children and teens. We all want our children to be as healthy as possible and happy and to be successful on whatever terms that means success to our children. We all want to avoid the large and devastating issues that can affect children.
Some children have a super hard beginning in life. Some have such a hard 9 year change. Some are at their lowest at 14/15. Some have a really hard 16/17. Some have a really hard time getting through the beginning stages of adulting 18-25 and need a lot of direction.
And all we can do is find our own way, form a village , do the best you can do, and LET IT GO. Y ou cannot live the life of the child in front of you and control everything. In the younger years, you have a chance to shape things and you have precious time, even if it is the ordinary time of dirty diapers, naps, and baths. However, as your child grows, your lives as intertwined but no longer on the same exact growing path. The teen branches out into the world with roots at home. They will make mistakes, sometimes large ones, and it becomes more and more of their journey and less of yours. And so it goes.
Insecure feelings in parenting is real and raw and true. Find your spiritual work, find your tribe, re-find your partner or spouse if you have one, set your boundaries, do what you can do without losing your mind, and laugh together. Parenting is over many years, and the cycles of joy and triumph and despair are just that – cycles. Riding the wave is sometimes the best and only thing to do . Insecurity eventually can be replaced by the reality of it being only one small part of the tapestry of parenting and generations.