Being a parent is hard
I mean, it's really hard. If you have a child - or two or three - you don't need me to tell you this. At the beginning it can feel so overwhelming you don't think you can do it. I distinctly remember when Little Bird was about 6 weeks old nearly having an anxiety attack as the realisation set in that I was responsible for this tiny creature's physical and mental well-being for the rest of my life. That's a big deal. HUGE.
The first few years are undoubtedly pretty mental. Prolonged sleep deprivation is just about the hardest thing I've ever had to cope with. And then you throw another baby or two into the mix and you might feel like you're really losing it. Comedian Jim Gaffigan summed it up, having had his fourth child:
But guess what? It gets easier. It really does, and if you're at the beginning of this crazy parenting journey you need to hear that. After a while you start to relax into it and take yourself less seriously and realise kids are pretty robust, physically and mentally. Or at least I hope you do. Because, here's another thing you need to hear:
you are good enough
There is so much pressure to be the Perfect Parent, and that doesn't exist anymore than the Perfect Person exists. It's a ridiculous notion invented, as far as I can see, on competitive parenting forums. So I say, log out and take a deep breath. Does it matter of Sarah's Bugaboo is bigger, newer, filled with more accessories (ok the coffee cup holder thingy is handy) than yours? Does it matter that Mark's son speaks 5 languages and he's only three? Does it matter that Sean and Maire took the kids to Tokyo and now they all eat sushi and can use chopsticks correctly? No, it doesn't. Because although they may have carefully curated Instagram accounts that make their lives look Perfect...
You know why? Because they're dealing with dirty nappies, and sick-up on their shoulder, and chicken pox, and tantrums, and picky eaters, and teething, and night terrors, and couples arguments, and permanent pen on the laptop screen, and concussions, and tense car journeys, and insane toddler logic, and sibling rivalries... just like the rest of us.
Unless of course you and your family live life like this.
Need more inspiration?
This website has some amazing articles on Positive Parenting (so much more realistic than Perfect Parenting, right?)
Child rearing is just one big messy, unpredictable, rollercoaster ride. And it is 100% worth it. So embrace the mess and the uncertainty and the really scary bits and give yourself a high-five just for being good enough.