Parenting can be a beautiful thing, and it can also be a total disaster. I’ve been there, feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted that I just want to escape. But I’ve also experienced the joys of connecting with my kids and providing them with the love they need. It can fight between these two extremes, but it’s important to remember that parenting is both incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding.
In this blog, I want to talk about both—the ugly and the beautiful—of parenting:
It’s okay to be vulnerable – we all have weaknesses
Even as a parent, it’s okay to admit when you don’t have it all figured out. We all have weaknesses and moments of insecurity. Being honest with yourself and others about these moments can be freeing. As a parent, you may not feel like your greatest when your children are having a tough time. It’s alright to admit that you don’t always know the best thing to do or how to help them manage their emotions in that moment. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and assess – bringing awareness of your own emotions can help too.
Parenting isn’t supposed to be hard, but there will be moments where things don’t seem to go as planned – challenging days that leave us drained, with no actual idea on how we could have done better. It’s alright if sometimes you feel discouraged, overwhelmed or even lost – it’s part of being human. Allowing yourself an opportunity for open dialogue with trusted friends or family about the challenges and successes of parenting can help lighten the load and will often reveal insights or strategies that maybe hadn’t occurred before.
Parenting is hard, and it’s okay to admit that sometimes it’s ugly
As a parent, I understand how easy it is to put up a front; to project that everything is perfectly in order, and that my kids will experience nothing negative in life. That their upbringing will be filled with nothing but harmony and grace, and none of the tension, arguments and occasional hostility that comes with raising a family. But that’s simply not true for 99 percent of all families out there – parenting is hard, often complicated and always time consuming.
We have plenty of societal pressures to be the perfect parents – from friends and family members who offer advice on parenting styles they think are best, to media messages aimed at whitewashing the hard parts of being a parent. From day one we’re told that parenting should be this beautiful thing – full of rainbows and curative lessons – but it’s okay to admit that sometimes it’s ugly too.
Sometimes Mom or Dad get angry in front of their children; other times, where tough love needs to be applied or unexpected tantrums arise out unforeseen circumstances. Parenting can feel like an uphill battle some days; one where no matter how many resources you muster up, you still feel you’re losing the war. It’s okay to openly admit these struggles, even if we don’t have perfect solutions in mind yet (or ever).
Speaking about our worries aloud more regularly can bring on feelings of both strength and comfort knowing you’re not alone in this mess; and help make space for potentially easier solutions down the road too!
We need to be honest about the tough parts of parenting in order to get help and support
Admitting that parenting is difficult isn’t easy, but it’s an important step in seeking help and support. We all have our fair share of joy and heartache along this journey. There is so much love intertwined with their struggles, their growing and maturing moments – both of which can leave us feeling surprised, overwhelmed, angry and helpless.
Parents often feel like we are alone and have to figure out everything by ourselves. We put on a stoic face in order to hide the stuff that is too raw or embarrassing for anyone to hear out loud. But the truth is that our choices shape not only who our children grow up to be but how they view us as parents, too. We can’t always carry the burden on our own; we need others who understand or relate in order to talk it out or get a helping hand in tough times.
No parent has all the answers, but if we admit that there are areas where we could use guidance or advice (or just plain venting!), then maybe it will make it easier for other parents to come forward or ask for help themselves when they need it most. It might even open up some conversations with healthcare providers about mental health concerns that many of us grapple with when parenting small children and teenagers—recognizing signs of depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues—and knowing where to find professional resources when needed most.
The weight of being the sole responsible person for another human’s life can feel heavy at times; let’s be brave enough to face those tough moments together as a community instead of going through them alone!
Vulnerability can help us connect with other parents and build a community
One of the biggest challenges of parenting can be the feeling of total isolation, especially when handling difficult moments. The truth is that we’re not alone – navigating the difficulties of parenting is a common experience. But too often, we hide behind a face that projects perfection and poise, never revealing our true feelings for fear of judgement. It’s no wonder that it can feel like there are so many others doing a far better job than ourselves – we present only a carefully curated version of reality.
That’s why building relationships based on an honest exchange of experiences is so important. Opening up to other parents–whether online or in-person–can be transformative because it gives us context around our own struggles and successes, and allows us to offer support back to others in turn. Vulnerability helps us build a community and ensures that no parent ever has to go through any stage alone.
What’s important here is that connection isn’t about finding resolutions – it’s about growing together by being open about the full range of emotions from joy to frustration, connection when all seems lost, tenderness even in moments where patience might run low. We need to start by acknowledging our own struggles and embrace this opportunity for genuine growth together before expecting perfection from ourselves or others.
When we’re vulnerable, we’re more likely to receive compassion and understanding
It is so difficult to admit when we’ve made mistakes, especially as parents. We want to believe that every decision we make is wise and that our children are perfectly behaved at all times. But being honest and vulnerable with ourselves, our partners, and each other can be incredibly liberating and helpful.
When I was at my wits’ end with my children, finding someone who could listen with compassion was huge. On one especially daunting day when the noise level seemed deafening, and the house was in disarray, I felt so frustrated and helpless. But when I opened up my heart to a friend who empathized with me instead of judging or criticizing me, it strengthened my resolve to make better choices for myself and for my family. Acknowledging the ugly side of parenting opens us up to discover new solutions for problems we may have been stuck on for some time.
When hard days arise (as they often do!), we can show a kind of courage by taking off our masks of perfection and admitting our weaknesses without fear or judgement from others. Being vulnerable does not make us weak; it takes courage to be honest about our struggles as parents, but doing so can help build community amongst those in similar roles. By talking about the challenging times together, it can help us shed light on these darkness moments while also bringing understanding rather than shame or judgment.
Being open and honest about our struggles can make us stronger parents
As parents, most of us put on a brave face and can often suppress our need to be vulnerable. We try to live up to impossible standards and don’t want to talk about the messy side of parenting because it’s embarrassing or too hard to admit. But being open and honest about our struggles can actually make us stronger parents.
When we share our experiences, good and bad, with other parents, we learn we are not alone. We understand similar struggles may be happening in other households too, and this helps us come together as a community. A few years ago, I was constantly comparing myself to what other moms were doing or “achieving” as a parent; it was so helpful talking to another mom who had gone through similar experiences as me – knowing I wasn’t alone in feeling overwhelmed by parenting gave me more confidence in being true to my unique style of parenting.
By being vulnerable and truthful with ourselves, we can learn compassion and empathy towards fellow parents who may have different interests or parenting practices than us. We should never underestimate the power of vulnerability, it reminds us that difficulties are part of the journey in raising kids but that there is community support available when those moments seem toughest. It helps break down barriers between different parents and celebrates individuality without judgement – something all new families will find incredibly beneficial for their wellbeing. Embrace the messiness. Be compassionate towards yourself first before expecting it from your child or others – you are enough!