Parenting wans’t meant to be easy!

Notes from Italy

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It’s true: life wasn’t meant to be easy. There are some things that take you by surprise. Like, say, parenting. Especially parenting, really. Before you find yourself in it up to the peck, you approach it with all the ideals of having experienced it from the perspective of the child you once were, exactly what your own parents did wrong, and loosely, but passionately, know you are going to approach it differently when the boot is on the other foot.

Then suddenly, in the peculiar way life has of seeming to unceremoniously throw you up on some isolate beach without your being aware that you were even on a journey, the boot is indeed on the other foot. And ye Gods, but it isn’t quite simple from that perspective!

The first problem is lack of formal training for the job. For about the most important thing you have to do in your life, raise your kids into adults who are not bank robbers, axe murders, or used car salesmen, there is no dregree course.

You are essentially and rather horribly on your own.

It may well be that you manate to stumble on some useful handbooks expressing opposing opinione about how to handle some of the myriad situations that are thrown up at you. It may well be that you are blesses with neighbours,friends and family who give you lots of unsolicited advice, some of it actually quite useful, but often from perspective you yourself had beffe you found yourself in to the hot seat.

But when the doors of your home close on you and your nest full of fledglings, daily and nightly, well or unwell, fit or exhausted, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you are in the ring on your on. Centre stage, full spotlight.

The early days, when your child is a baby, terrifying as they seem at the time, are in fact but mild preparation for the reality to follow. You are thrilled when little Johnny learns to talk. Until, that is, he learns to repeat what he hears you say, whether or not you wanted him to hear; and then, to answer back. And then, worse still, he discovers (quite surprisingly early on, aroun Preschool) that you are not the bountiful font of knowledge he once believed you were and, horror of horrors, he starts to think for himself. And his thoughts do not necessarily complement your own or even come within their orbit, and nor do they necessarily fit within the parametrs of the sanctity of your home. The only training you have had is from your childhood experiemce, which is where your problems begin and end at the same time. And when occasionaly you come up for air, and remember how you planned it to be, and decide to start over and do it right- well, life doesn’t present you with a clean sheet of paper every time you approach it at fresh. You have to trudge on with the blots behind you, part of your own personal story and that of your children. It is forever written in the psyches of your offspring, for whom it is merely a time game till they able to effect their dire revenge

And another thing. a day dawns when you find yourself raging over something your child said, or roaring at him to get ready for school this very minute, and you stop and realise- I am a mother. Ye Gods, I am my mother! How did that happen?

O thankless task, parenting. A life time commitment, humor essential, hang on your hat for the journey of your life.

“Life wasn’t meant to be easy, my child, but take courage: it can be delightful!”

From “Slippin’ in the lino” by Jane Grieve

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