The other day on a quick errand, I was walking through the parking lot of Target. I saw a beautiful little girl in a yellow sundress laying on the grease-spotted ground next to her mom’s SUV crying her eyes out. Her mother squatted next to her, gently consoling her. I smiled because this was the essence of real parenting – compassion – whenever and where ever our children need it.
Fifteen minutes later I left the store with 4T underwear in one hand and cat food in the other. I could see the SUV was still there and I figured they must be inside the car trying to regroup. As I passed, I nonchalantly peered in the back window and to my surprise I saw the mom holding her four-year-old in her lap in the back hatch area.
This mom was doing whatever it took to accommodate her little girl and that’s how parenting should be. Sometimes life’s about sitting in your car while holding your distressed child.
There are many days when I’d like to throw in the towel. My kids can send me over the edge. When I’m at my wits end I find myself yelling and threatening. How can that be? After all, I am the Parenting Expert. Even Parenting Experts recognize the challenges of being a parent. Anyone entering parenthood does so with their own unique perspectives, ideals and personal baggage. I have to admit that the weight of my own baggage is what drew me into a helping profession. For years I’ve battled with fact that my parents had children when they clearly didn’t want to – leaving my siblings and I feeling like we were an inconvenience. I wish I could claim I wrote this book because I had a warm and loving upbringing , but I can’t because I didn’t. This quote from Marshall B. Rosenberg depicts the way most parents feel:
“…Every time we’re less than perfect, we’re going to blame ourselves and attack ourselves, our children are not going to benefit from that. So the goal I would suggest is not to be perfect parents, it’s to become progressively less stupid parents – by learning from each time that we’re not able to give our children the quality of understanding that they need, that we’re not able to express ourselves honestly. In my experience, each of these times usually means that we’re not getting the emotional support we need as parents, in order to give our children what they need.”