Acceptance: willingness to tolerate a difficult situation
Being a parent can be one of the most frustrating and challenging experiences – because we want to get it right, we want our children to be happy and healthy and because their behaviour can be challenging to us whether we are dealing with a sleepless baby, a tantrumming toddler or a hormonal teenager.
I have been pondering parenting alot recently – based on my own experiences, comments from friends and the words from many of the parents I see at the Birth & Baby Family Centre and I reckon a key part of parenting is acceptance – acceptance of the constant learning curve, acceptance that we don’t always have or need the answers, acceptance that our child is his own person, acceptance that we often don’t have any control, acceptance that we are not doing anything wrong, acceptance that we are doing our best and acceptance that they are but a child.
In our modern society we are usually desperate for solutions, we are fearful of the consequences of getting it wrong, our expectations are often too high and we often find ourselves battling with our babies. How many times have I thought myself or heard the worries of other parents about making a rod for our back, having spoilt children and – omg – what if we have children who can’t be independent because we ruined them with all those delicious baby cuddles?
Acceptance perhaps needs to start when we have our babies – lack sleep is the biggest cause of concern, of frustration, of feeling like we are failing, of searching for a solution. We can provide the environment to encourage sleep but we cannot force a baby to sleep – accepting that we are knackered and accepting that our baby will sleep when he can does not make this any less painful but it can stop the battle with our baby and it can encourage us to focus on getting the support we need to cope with the sleep deprivation.
As our children grow, they throw us a new bloody curveball which can challenge us, make us think and question our ability so we need to regroup, pick our battles and learn to accept something else and it can be tiring but not as exhausting as trying to always take control and battle with our children. It doesn’t get any easier but, sometimes, when we are marking out the latest battle line, we need to ask ourselves – is it worth it? Do I need to listen and, maybe, cuddle instead?