Being a parent, do you ever feel as though your life is one big Shakespearean stage production where each and every day of your life is played and acted out in a magnified way for the world to see - and analyse - and you have absolutely no where to hide? I mean N.O.W.H.E.R.E......not when your kids demand your every waking moment, which mostly seem to be out on public display. Yip! Nowhere!
Or is it just me?
Okay, so let's be honest, I'm not shy - not in the least - but even a complete attention seeking extrovert (just so we are even more clear - that's not me either!) must surely crave some introverted moments of inner peace, harmony, and a sanctuary for the soul to be soothed?
17 years a parent now and I think I have done well - no really well...BUT...I am starting to feel that I have lost my sanity - ever so slightly - along the way.
We're parents, we love our kids dearly, unconditionally, and are self sacrificing on so many levels we're practically saints, but how much of our truest self do we lose - or at least forget and abandon - in the process? Is this normal and natural or is there something we could and should do to balance the life of being a parent and that of our own life? Hmm!
Well, aren't they one in the same?
Well now I think about it,....(lots more thinking).... I don't think they are.
Being a parent is an extension of our self and helps to give meaning and purpose to our life but it shouldn't define who we are but instead compliment and enhance who were are, and if we are really doing our job well as a parent; it should develop our character; give us strength, wisdom, peace and inner joy. It's a daily practice of a series of choices and the decisions we make, and the consequences to those whether they be good or bad (yes we all make them even if at the time they seem good) and how we learn and grow from them..
(Feeling a bit better now - it's amazing how writing clears the mind and puts things into perspective - well at 1 am in the morning it's the only space and time I can get!)
Okay, so that's good, right?.... well not completely because along the way it can be a real struggle, you can feel as though you are completely losing your mind and question yourself if you are thinking, saying and doing the right thing with regards to your kids, and we often compare ourselves to other parents who seem to be doing everything just right and appear "together" (brain overload) ...and then there are times when you feel as though you aren't appreciated and what's the point! Especially during the teenagers years - do we really even need to say anything there!. (Oops, maybe I shouldn't of gone there?)
Let's stop for a moment.....breathe deeply..... it's okay - we're not hyperventilating parents of teenagers here - we're just having....a moment....a very long moment.... to check our sanity....and breathe! We're not losing it, we are simply calming our inner self and reminding ourselves that we are in complete control, we are still the parent and we know what we are doing.....!!!!! Well some of us anyway, some of the time - I think!
Who said parenting was easy - or even life for that matter! More often than not, being a parent stresses you out, you never have enough money, never enough time for yourself, your work is never done, you walk around like a zombie, you feel as though you aren't doing enough, you lose your sense of self and worry about your kids, how they are getting on at school, with other kids, if as teens they are going to be affected by peer pressure to smoke, take drugs or alcohol, if they are going to be able to get a decent job/career to care of themselves....and on and on!
Okay, so these thoughts aren't night and day but they are there churning away in the deeper dimensions of your mind and your stomach often does some pretty challenging maneuvers as we worry about them. After all, our children take centre stage in our lives and we want the best for them which ultimately is to be happy, healthy, safe - to have passion and purpose in their life - and and can contribute to society in a positive way with a kind and caring heart.
Wow! Now you can understand where the insanity comes in!
image credit www.brokenboxstock.com
It takes a parent to understand another parent. No two children are the same (even in the same family) and one parent can and will experience a different range of challenges to another but ultimately what is the same is how as parents we should approach these challenges, with patience, prayer, unconditional love and support for our children, leaning on those with wisdom and similar experiences, and believing in our children, that no matter what, it will all work out for good in the end for them.
(yes, thinking - and writing - helps to clear and calm the mind and the right kind of words that we think can definitely heal the mind)
As a parent I don't get much, if any, time to myself, juggle daily the pressures of spending time with my family and working, feel at times as though I am losing it ever so slightly - drained of all energy and hope.....and then I pray! (Ah! the power of prayer!) - and sanity and inner peace is restored! Thank you Lord :-) Being a parent is a gift, and we need to be reminded of that - every day!
(Note to self) So remember, whenever you see the parents with the kids or teenagers that looks completely together, are a sea of calm on the outside, and appear to be an encyclopedia of wisdom, tell yourself they, just like you are human (not perfect), are on a parental journey too, and more likely than not are having or have had challenges similar to you - as well as unique to them - that they have to deal with ....and you will feel a whole lot better.
(from insanity to sanity in one blog! bliss)
I've just discovered, there is power in our insanity - it makes us question ourselves, helps us to delve deeper, to truly look at ourselves, our lives and those that are in them, and reminds us that we are so blessed to have children that look up to us, need us and love us - best job in the world!
Thank you God for my Family <3
yours, Lynne x
"Sane and Blessed"
This blog has been written to help parents to be kinder on themselves, to know they are not alone in their periods of difficulty and to inspire them to keep improving along the way. If you are a parent that is feeling unsupported and unable to cope it is important that you seek help from someone that is able to listen to your needs, offer the right help or refer you to someone that can.
Resources for advice/help:
Spain - www.inspiredlearning.es / www.antoniabehan.com / www.childlineandalucia.org / www.spain.mumabroad.com
USA - www.nationalparenthelpline.org/find-support
UK - www.familylives.org.uk
Need help or would like to offer help for parents living in southern Spain. Easily set up your own support groups on our Parent's Forum and share your questions and advice on social media with one click.
Check out our "Empowering Parents" series
About the Author:
Lynne Duncan is a mum with many passions and works hard to be a guiding light to her two precious teenage children, which isn't an easy task in a world full of challenges and temptations. But with the enormous help of her Faith in Jesus and Trust in God, loving partner, family and friends - is herself guided and enlightened! She feels very blessed to be the editor and publisher of Kids on the Costa magazines and has a passion and a "calling" to make a difference to families by networking with others who are "making a difference", and by helping to spread positive thoughts, good and practical information, love, real joy, and gratitude into each family's life.