In some ways, being a parent is a lot harder than it was when our parents raised us. We have many tasks to juggle- from working outside of the home, to working at home, to staying home with the kids, to nurturing our relationships, to having time to breathe and decompress (you time). Stay at home parents often find themselves in the midst of taking kids to scheduled activities, daycare/school, unstructured play outside of the home, and playdates.
Most of our parents never heard of playdates when they were raising us- we played with family members or neighbors. Our parents did not have to schedule time for us to play with other kids. There is no judgment here, it’s just the nature of our lives- we are busy and balancing so much in an urban setting (where children are not always right next door) that we have to schedule time to play with kids. Our parents were not always actively or consistently a part of our play. Modern day parents are very invested in the development of their children and seek to be an active part in providing enrichment and stimulation most of the time, every day. This is a lot of work, worthwhile but maybe not necessary all day, every day. To note, generalizations are being made so not all parents past or present fit the description I have painted.
Our parents relied on family advice or intuition to parent us. We rely on books, the internet, parenting magazines, and parenting classes. Knowledge IS power but too much knowledge is plain overwhelming. It’s easy to be confused and uncertain parenting today.
On the lighter side of things, read “Safe Baby Handling Tips” by David and Kelly Supp. The book is comprised of funny do’s and don’ts of parenting an infant. The last page is titled, “Taking a Break from Baby”- Do: unwind with your partner & Don’t: read baby and parenting books together as a couple when you are “unwinding.” It’s a good laugh.
The message here is that we have very hectic lives that are complicated. We all have expectations on how parenting should or shouldn’t happen. We don’t have to be perfect or have all of the answers to raise our kids. They love us mistakes and all. If we unconditionally love and show affection to our children, take an interest in our children for whom they truly are, act in their best interest, and spend time with our children, our children will feel loved. When children feel loved by their parents, we have achieved being the good enough parent. We can slow our lives down, love our kids, and learn along the way. We can learn something from how our parents parented but there is always room to grow.