The hardest thing about parenting
Two weeks ago I was called in to my 8 year old son's school to chat to his teacher after he was put on detention and warned a few times.
"He's saying inappropriate things in the classroom and just generally being silly," she said. "I'm quite concerned about him."
My heart sank. Another problem to deal with. Another solution to find. Another kid to talk to and deal with and sort out and love.
With four children, each of whom have their own issues, my parenting journey has never been smooth sailing. (Okay, maybe the first two years weren't too hard in hindsight, but I had the new mummy blues and the stress of everything being new and different.)
I've read lots of parenting books. Some have been throw-across-the-room material. Most have been good. Quite a few have been outstanding. But all of them have focused on the children; how to love the children, how to fix the children, how to discipline the children, how to teach the children to think.
I'm not sure I've read a book which talks about the bit of parenting I find the hardest of all: Keeping On Going.
Finding the patience to help with homework with the kid who doesn't want to do it, waiting calmly while the three year old changes her shoes again, or coping gently but firmly when my stuff goes missing or gets broken.
I know lots of theories about child raising. I have lots of skills and techniques. I can do mutual problem solving, joint attention, declarative communication, and basic bribery. I can read books and look for ways through the issues and find help for most things that are going on.
It's getting on the emotional roller coaster and finding the strength to put one foot in front of another that I find the hardest.
Because there has never, and I say that with my hand on my heart, never been a time in our household when *everyone* has been happy, healthy, contented, creative, convivial, doing their homework, helping out at home, eating healthily (and with good table manners) all at the same time.
For the last 10 years at least there has been a major issue in our family Every Single Week. And I'm talking about the sort of issue that takes research, understanding, a change or adjustment of approach, and often outside help, to resolve.
The truth is, it's hard work to be knocked over and stand up and head into the fray over and over and over again. I can do parenting. It's the emotional energy behind it that sometimes is more than I can summon.
With all of that in mind, it's worthwhile to celebrate your wins when you get them. And this week my win came when the aforementioned 8 year old paid heed to his mother and his teacher working together, lifted his game and was given the class award for responsibility and good work this week.
I can take a deep breath, know it's not all out of control and head to the couch for a quiet sit down.