One of the biggest myth's people have as they enter into parenthood, is believing that parenting will come to them naturally, and that they will figure it out once they have a child. Believing that they will 'learn on the job'.
Of course every now and then I have my instincts and intuitions as a mother, which I believe is solely cause we are so connected to our children in so many realms. But this instinct doesn't make me a parent naturally, and I can’t rely on it all the time. It doesn't teach me or guide me at all times. It is very momentary and situational.
I don't know what to do when my 4 year old is throwing a fit, crying about not wearing a jacket , before going out into the cold.
I don't know what to do when my 2 year old refuses to eat, sometimes multiple meals in a row.
I don’t know what to do when my 6 month old refuses to sleep all night.
I don't know so many such things and no one, no one taught us about these things. We are just supposed to come up with a solution in the moment.
We didn't have parent coaches when our parents raised us, and when our grandparents raised our parents, then why do we need that external advice now? Right? Ever heard of the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child" ?
When we were young our parents had those villages and support systems around them, which most of us are missing in our lives now. Our grandparents had learnt through experience of raising on an average 5-10 children.
There is nothing we do in our lives that prepares us for parenthood. All the apps we download about what to expect at which month etc. but from the moment our child is born, we are lost. We don't know how they are going to behave when?
Recently I was having a conversation with a new mom, who was sharing her experience of the first few months of being a parent, and she mentioned, I wonder why they don't teach this to us in university ? We prepare ourselves for a job, for a career, for our future. In our society most of our parents also prepare us how to be a good spouse, or be a homemaker. We start learning how to do things like cooking, cleaning, driving etc. But I don't remember a single instance in my life when someone has coached me to be a mother. Yes I have had some experience with holding babies and caring for them when I had a niece / nephew in the house, but that was at my will without any accountability or responsibility .
As I go about my day, I am naturally inclined to observe parents, and what they think and talk about, in relation to their children. I am surprised by how little we millennials know about raising children. This is not a judgement. It is the need of the hour. Regardless of how educated and aware we millennials are, it is very difficult to know everything and gather all the info about raising a child on our own, specially with all the time constraints we have, while raising a child.
We have to navigate and at the same time enjoy this process of raising a child with some guidance, be it from our experienced grandparents and parents or be it with the help of an expert.
It takes me tons of reading, research and continually studying under experts to come up with the best practices to implement with children, specially during difficult behaviors and what is referred to as phases that a child goes through, but this is also my full time job. Children also come with their own sets of personalities and a parent needs to know and/or learn how to manage that. I cannot imagine or expect any parent to be spending day and night doing this same research, while doing their full time job and catering to other commitments, and not to mention raising a child.
There is nothing I have done in my life that has prepared me to be a mother, and there has been nothing as challenging in my life, every minute of every day as becoming a mother.
Every time someone shows up at my office for such guidance, thinking they are not good enough for their child, the first thing I tell them is the fact that they have taken out time and energy to do this for their child, is more than a reason to believe that they are the best their child could have, and that there is nothing they need to worry about form here on.
So I just want to give a big shout out and kudos to all those parents that seek for help and guidance, to raise their children, when they feel the need for it.