Parenting is considered to be one of the most wonderful albeit hardest “jobs” we adults will ever have. You welcome a child into your family and perhaps you don’t delve deeply into just how much things might change—elevating expectations as you adjust to being together, developing and adhering to schedules, rules and boundaries that work for everyone, dealing with incessant worry over the trivial and the important, trying to function on less than adequate sleep, and combating the loss of your identity.
If you are increasing your family, you have to consider the impact not only on yourself, but any siblings. The complexity increases. Add the layer of adoption and you can have quite an interesting pot of soup. (Hopefully you’ve participated in adoption education and/or are continuing to stay abreast of adoption, adoptive parenting and related topics.)
Parenting can cause the most confident adult to stumble on occasion. Parents are vulnerable because of what they feel for their child. Parenting is an enormous emotional commitment. Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Most parents strive to be good parents; I’d go further to say that many want to be exceptional or perfect parents. Case in point; on any given day, anywhere, you can find a group of congregated moms sharing stories about their children. If you listen closely though what you’ll really hear are stories about how they parent—competitive parenting. Parents wish to raise “great” kids—smart, capable, compassionate, gifted in one or more areas, etc. After all, children reflect their parents, especially when they shine, correct?
But what about when children have problems with peers, confidence, self-esteem, etc.? What about when children are make poor choices or act out in less than desirable and dangerous ways?
Two of the central challenges of parenting are the loss of control and chaos. Often, in a more intimate paring or groups, or in adoptive parenting forums, moms (mostly) share some of the anguish they experience. They feel safer among those they share similar concerns with, those who have traveled a similar journey into parenting, and those who will not judge them. Sometimes parents seek professional help (counseling and therapy), and sometimes not—feeling they should be able to handle the child and the situation, after all they were “vetted” to be able to adopt.
Humans are not perfect. Parents aren’t either. What’s good enough for you?
Food for Thought: What are you modeling for your child if you’re stuck on “perfect”?