I don’t really believe in general whinging about how tough parenting can be (although the odd jovial ‘Here I am, up to my neck in excrement once again’ can provide some much-needed amusement). We all know that there are challenges, just as there are with any path you choose to take in life (parenting or otherwise), and many rewards. And for many of us, we ourselves have chosen the path we are on, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of changing the path I am on. My children were very much planned, and had parenting been too much of a challenge first time, it is unlikely I would have chosen to do it all over again!
But what I do think can be helpful is sharing the hurdles along the way and seeking support from others. Others can have a wealth of wisdom from experience, instinct and research, and in this regard, social media has enormous potential which indeed is already being increasingly and effectively utilised.
What I also think is important is recognition. From what I can remember of ‘Men are from Venus, Women are from Mars’, typically women don’t always need a solution to their problem to feel better (and indeed, often, there is no ‘solution’ and neither would you particularly want there to be in some cases). Apparently, what women need (and I’m paraphrasing from the book here) is to be listened to and their difficulties acknowledged. Most of us aren’t seeking a medal for what we have done; we don’t expect any rewards from others for parenting our own children: having the children in our lives is reward enough. Rather, it for someone to listen (thoroughly and completely), and then to simply reply, ‘Yes, I can imagine you must be completely and utterly exhausted’.