Ah man, four kids and two adults. My husband and I are totally outnumbered now and funnily enough it’s taken me this long to realise that it’s unrealistic for me to expect that all four girls of ours will be happy all the time. It’s an insane juggling act at times, semblance akin to stuffing an octopus inside a netted bag – a lot of the times: completely pointless.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ll do our best to provide them with positive experiences, opportunities to learn and grow. They have clothes they need, enough toys to amuse them (but not a lot, either) and they’re safe, in a house that keeps them sheltered and warm. They attend fantastic kindergarten and schools and they have some great friends.
But sometimes life is gonna be hard. Some days are gonna be shit, and they’re not gonna be happy – but that’s OK. Sometimes they’re really not going to like what I have to say. But you know.. That’s life. It isn’t my job to make my girls happy all the time. They need to learn how to form resilience and how to bounce. They need to be okay with feeling sad, frustrated and even mad sometimes – because that’s how they learn.
They need to know that even though they don’t like what I have to say, that I’ll keep loving them through it all.
If I’m pre-empting every single encounter in their lives, buffering every single fall and handing out solutions for every single problem they come across in their lives – they aren’t learning. They aren’t growing, they aren’t developing and maturing. It’s draining and exhausting for me and it’s unhealthy for them.
Because my children are smart. They’re capable, they’re able. They can work some stuff out on their own, through trial and error and they can learn that failing sometimes is just the way it goes. The awesome, important stuff is about picking yourself up, dusting off and giving it another go. It’s about using this experience as a framework of how to do things differently next time.
I’ll be there to guide them and nurture them through it – but I can’t prevent every upset, and I shouldn’t either. Because that’s childhood: growing, learning. And I’m not their friend, I’m their parent.