Updated: Mar 13, 2020
And how on earth you ended up here.
Because this wasn’t how things were supposed to be.
And you couldn’t have tried harder.
Or given more.
Or loved more.
Wondering if you somehow made an epic mistake or messed up the formula that would have meant it’s so much easier right now.
Who knows where other pathways may have led – there are no guarantees and wondering doesn’t change the path you are on – it may just rob you of any joy that could be there.
It’s time to take a step back.
To change the lens.
Parenthood is a journey and not an event and like so many of life’s big journeys it’s rare to go from A to B without a hitch. Sometimes there are flat tyres, bad weather, road closures, knocks and bumps and loo stops (or multiple loo stops). Why should this journey of parenthood, possibly the biggest and most significant journey of your life be any different?
Maybe this bit of the journey is rough and you can barely see the road ahead. Or you’ve had multiple detours and you’re just so tired. Perhaps the weather has been hideous and there’s just no let up from what’s being chucked your way. Possibly the journey bears little resemblance to the one you thought you were embarking upon. Maybe it just sucks and all those travelling with you are feeling it too.
It’s ok to not enjoy it.
It’s ok to make mistakes and have regrets.
It’s ok to mourn the dream that never became reality.
It’s ok to wish your journey was different.
But the toughness of your journey right now it doesn’t negate the good times or your efforts. Neither does it define the whole experience or mean that there isn’t hope ahead.
This phase may be way too long, but it doesn’t have to be the whole journey.
There comes a moment where you have a choice. This is the journey you are on. You may not be able to control the traffic flow or avoid roadworks, but you can choose how you’re going to view them – are they the sum total of the journey or part of a bigger picture?
Challenges, mistakes, failures and regrets are an inevitable part of being a parent, but they don’t define you as a parent. What is more significant is how you choose to respond when you are faced with these.
Of course that’s easy to say.
Much harder to do.
Even harder to keep doing.
The odds are you’re working pretty hard no matter what.
When the moments of choice comes the hard work doesn’t go, but there is an opportunity to do it in a more positive way
Right now it may be tough, painful, relentless and hard to keep your head up, but know that you’re not alone – there are many others whose journey didn’t go to plan. One day you may look back and see this season in a very different light.
Hold on tight to even the slightest glimmer of hope and be kind to yourself and those travelling companions of yours. Those darkest moments are where we learn the most wisdom and grace.
Hang in there dear parent – there may be a beautiful view just around the next corner.