Here’s the The Trouble with Being a Good Parent

Here’s the trouble with being a good parent – it’s impossible to get just right when the rules of engagement change every day. Let me lay it out for you:

The expectation in the beginning: I will be the best parent ever. The books I will read will help me do it just right. I learned so much on my journey, certainly I can make the world right for this tiny human. Everyone else has done it perfectly, so surely I can.

The reality: I feel like I am failing. I am too tired. I am not enjoying all of this like I am supposed to. I am not nearly as good as the parents I see around me. I am not enough for my kids.

The hard truth: You are not perfect. You are a parent. You are a human. You are a hero. And you are likely a hot mess.

The real struggle here is to remedy the conflict between who we are trying to be and who we are authentically meant to be. The struggle is to revamp the expectations and be clear on what we will use to measure ourselves.

How do we do it: We identify our values, our goals, and our opportunities. Then we bust out our obstacles. 

Why do we do it: The cycle will continue unless we change it, and the cycle can be dark.

The real goal: Let them become who they authentically are (especially in a way that you were never offered). This is where we avoid the ”Encanto Effect”. You know, where each character has a special gift (which sounds totally awesome), but that gift becomes their defining feature and smothers the exploration of other talents and emotions and experiences. 

What gifts did you withhold in the name of pleasing others and aligning to their expectations? What gifts are still waiting to be revealed? What gifts can you help your kids explore?

Whose perfection are you seeking?

In martial arts, we practiced the Dojo Kun – the way of being within the dojo and out in the world shared through 5 simple mantras. One was, “Seek Perfection of Character”. What this reminds me is that we are not practicing to be perfect performers. We are practicing to:

SEEK: attempt or desire to obtain or achieve

PERFECTION: the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible. For our purposes today – let’s focus on the process of improving to meet standards of our own choosing.)

of CHARACTER (the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual)

When I sum that up I get this: one must desire/attempt the act of improving the qualities unique to them. This reminds us to open the pathway of their journey, grab some pom-poms, and start cheering them on.  The critical answer here is understanding we should each be seeking our OWN perfection only to be found on our own journey which means we have to let them become.

But this is scary. To allow them to become something unknown – to figure life out on their own terms is freaking scary. The thought of letting them struggle or endure sadness is intolerable. The record in my brain kept playing this dreaded tune on repeat: “a good parent makes sure their kids are happy, safe, and comfortable all the time, and you will be a good parent.”

I always told my kids that my job was to protect them. When I began saying it, I deeply meant to protect them from all things bad and dangerous. For my brand new babies, it was quite literally making sure they stay alive. I was comfortable with my proclamation of protection. Then as they grew, I realized it wasn’t just the protection of physical safety I was promising but also I was trying to protect them from suffering. I wanted to keep the monsters not only out of the closet but out of the state, the country, and everywhere. I wanted a life for them free of suffering. 

BUT Life is not just made of happiness. The inevitability of life is just this: we will endure both the highs of happiness and the lows of suffering. Neither will remain. Neither can be anticipated. We can only be in the moment and be aware that the next moment changes. My kids will encounter some of the truly deepest feelings of celebration and exultation, and they will be faced with some impossible situations and feelings.

If I block their experience from suffering, I will deny them the necessary opportunity to learn to manage their great big feelings in a way that will help navigate their journey. I cannot buffer them from suffering. That is on them to manage. My job is to instill the desire and the courage to protect themselves, to trust themselves, and to enjoy themselves. 

So while it pains me to watch my kids struggle with anything, I also know I want to raise happy, healthy, independent, financially stable, contributing members of society who are unique and sure of who they are. However they choose to do it, I will support them, but I know today that I owe it to them to teach them to find their joy amidst the happiness and suffering as they embark upon this bumpy, beautiful journey.

I won’t tell you it‘s easy  – But I will tell you time and again that you can endure it with more joy for you and for them. And I will tell you that I have your back. In this coaching practice, we will dig into what values drive you at your core, what aspects of life you are tolerating, and which resources can be tapped to help you bring your best self back to life. We will do this for you and to help you love the people who count on you!

You don’t have to be a good parent in all the ways and in all the things, but setting your sights on seeking the perfection of your unique character will make you great! 

You are worth it, and the world needs all of us to shine brighter. 

~Much Love✨

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