Hey parent, you're not alone!

Hey parent, you're not alone!

Being a parent is an intensely emotional experience. And, parents usually wonder whether their feelings are right or wrong. Fret not, for it's only natural

Continuous parenting struggles can lead to times when you feel that your overall happiness quotient has declined since the time you weren’t a parent.

Becoming a parent is in popular parlance associated with unadulterated joy; a sheer blissful state where no sadness is allowed to as much as touch you with a barge pole. Little surprise then that when you become a parent and find yourself struggling with uncertainties, you worry yourself sick thinking about how the feeling is unnatural, and not becoming of a parent. At the outset, it will help to know that you are not alone. There are many parents who struggle with myriad emotions related to parenting, but are not allowed to express it on account of societal construct.

Let us talk about some parenting taboos, which have parents concerned and yet sworn to secrecy!

I didn’t fall in love with my child at first glance

Well, be it popular literature or films, the moment the child is placed in your arms, voila, all the pain that came with hours of tedious labour is supposed to miraculously disappear. What is also expected to happen is that you form an immediate bond with the child. The fact, however, is that your love for and bond with the child only grows over a period of time. So, if you are worried that you do not have a connection that you should have had with the child, take heart!

Having a baby can be terribly lonely

With having a child being touted as the panacea for almost all problems, be it marital or otherwise, no surprise that you haven’t been able to voice the loneliness you have been feeling, especially as a new parent. If anything, it is not unnatural. There are sleepless nights, fatigue, and often a loss of social life, and sometimes even a career that you have so painstakingly built. Loneliness is therefore only natural. It is better not to live in denial, instead to accept these blues as a temporary phenomenon. However, if the feeling of sadness persists and if you seem to have lost interest in activities that you earlier enjoyed, and have a persistent low mood, do reach out to a specialist for what could be post natal depression.

My overall happiness seems to have declined

With continuous parenting struggles on account of changes in the overall milieu, desire for perfection, helicopter parenting and more, there can be times when you feel that your overall happiness quotient has declined since the time you weren’t a parent. Odds are that this is something you have been denying admitting even to your own self. The better way may be to acknowledge this thought and then work on the areas that are adding to your stress. Chances are that you are not allowing yourself to relax, worried that if you don’t read that book to the child every night, you will stunt his intelligence, or that if you haven’t been able to cook that green vegetable on one day, you are not helping him grow well. All you need to do is to let go of the guilt, as also this quest for perfection. Know that children are resilient and that your choices affect them only up to a certain limit.

Looking after young children is boring

With everyone asking you to enjoy your children because they grow up fast, it may be hard to admit that you feel each day is kind of crawling along, or worse still that you find looking after young children boring, and secretly pray that they grow up in a snap. Let’s face it - looking after young children, getting them to eat, cleaning after them can be excruciatingly boring at times, and that there could be days when parenting could seem like the most thankless job that you have ever done. The secret? This too shall pass! Till then, if you fear that admitting to boredom is a reflection of your love for our child, say goodbye to this fear. In fact, the next time you are at the park or a school get-together, throw an “I am bored” and see that hint of recognition in the eyes of many moms.

I don’t always know what is good for the child

Again, this may be a thought you may not want to admit even to your own self. The fact is that while it is said that parents know best for their child, there could be times where in a dynamically changing world you are confused about the many choices that are available. This isn’t sacrilege to say the least. It is perfectly okay to be confused, to not know every answer. As much as the child needs to learn and grow, so do we in our role as parents.

(The author is director, Curriculum with Footprints Childcare)