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  • Lori K Walters

When parenting is Hard and you wish it was different

White daisy

All of us have times when we wish that our parenting job wasn't how it is. That it wasn't this difficult, wasn't this scary, this heartbreaking, this exhausting.

As a parenting coach, I've worked with a number of parents who have found themselves suspended in the wishing. They feel like they're caught in a gray fog, somewhere between wishing it was different and knowing that it's real and wanting to be present for their child. They're turning left and right, facing forward, facing back, unable to see which way to go or how to take a step.

You might hear “I want it to be different” as a childish response, like a five-year-old thinking, maybe if I wish it, it will come true. But it’s more than that for the adults who find themselves caught here.

They experience a body-mind-heart unwillingness to be in the difficult situation with their kid because of the thoughts that creep in: “What if this is how it's going to be forever?” or, even worse, “What if this is a trajectory and it's only going to get worse and worse?” 

And, of course, self-doubt is right there ready to take over at a moment’s notice. Ready to suggest that you don't have what it takes to parent this kid through this situation. That you don't have the patience to stick with them, the presence of mind to say the right thing, the clinical knowledge to recognize what's going on, the ability to regulate yourself in their presence, the ability to support them but not take on their depression or anxiety…

Self-doubt says, you probably can't do these things. So, you're stuck. I wish it was different. I wish it was different.

And then there’s the guilt. Of course, no parent wants to say or even think that they wish their kid was different. In your heart, you want to love and accept this child wholeheartedly, to let them know that they are so welcome in this world, and that you see and appreciate their unique quality of light.

At the same time, it's hard. Your interactions are challenging. The silences are awkward. There’s a distance between you that you keep trying to bridge but wonder if you ever will. And you can't help but wonder what it would be like if your child was different, if they weren't depressed or hyper or terrified. And so, guilt takes over, holding you captive in the fog.

If you are one of these parents, I understand how disheartening, confusing and draining it is for you. Parenting is hard. No wonder you wish things were different.

Instead of giving you a practice today or some reflection questions, I've made you a guided meditation. Rather than reading and processing words in your mind, I invite you to rest in a quiet place, listen to my voice and allow your heart to speak to you.




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