It Is The Struggles

As usual, Motherlode offers food for thought this morning, and in particular, the issue of scaring and scarring other parents with stories of pregnancy, birth, and the early years of raising a child. In other words, we are bombarded with information on everything that can go wrong.

Come to think of it, we’re just as likely to read about concerns with the elementary years, those terrible ‘tweens, and… drum roll please – adolescence.

With my own recent scare – my son’s boating accident – I am reminded that parenting can be a harrowing ride no matter what. It’s an emotional roller coaster of love and worry that grabs you by the heart and never seems to let go. And speaking of letting go – that’s the goal of child-rearing – to raise our little ones to independence. Getting them, and us, ready for letting go.

In response to the reader who wrote to Motherlode about the fact that so many parenting articles are alarming in their tone and content, Lisa Belkin explains:

… as with every other part of life, the struggles are what preoccupy us. We need help with those; we look for support.

And I find that to be the crux of what we do here – and everywhere that we write and read and discuss on the web. It is the struggles that preoccupy us, and the support that we share which sustains us. It’s helpful, don’t you think? Not only because there is wisdom to be gained in discussion, but often we have nowhere else to go with those struggles – to dissect them, to reframe them, to give them an airing and in so doing, feel relieved; to propose solutions from our experience and gratefully accept suggestions from others.

At times, we trot out our fears so they grow smaller.

Drama

Taking the issue a step farther, I ask myself if we dramatize on occasion – for attention or for readership.

I think about the incident with my son. I could have kept silent. I could keep silent now. But the fact is, though he is healing perfectly well, I’ve been struggling with sleeplessness and a sense of vulnerability that I haven’t felt in some time. The fist in the pit of my stomach remains clenched.

Do I leave the topic alone and go on to other things? Do I share it so I may release a bit of angst, and by writing out the lingering fear, remind myself how fortunate I am?

I know the sleeplessness will subside, there are other tasks on our familial plate that are pressing, and I realize the convergence of stresses may be taking effect. There is nothing dramatic in any of this; it is life, as it is.

Sharing the Parenting Struggles

And the everyday parenting struggles?

Like the mother who wrote to Lisa Belkin, I was older when I conceived, and as such was lectured on all the risks, offered all the tests, and I declined most of them. The doctors scared me, but I set those fears aside and plunged ahead. I knew I wanted children; I was strong enough to deal with whatever I was given.

At the time, I was married, and assumed my children – “our” children – would be raised by two adults along with frequent visits to a large European extended family. In fact, I thought we might live overseas for a number of years, which was something I was looking forward to.

It didn’t quite turn out as planned, but two healthy children I have, and every struggle – most not dramatic – has been worth it.

Yet in our country of so much talk, of legitimate fears and possibly too many venues for sharing them, don’t we still remember to speak of our victories and recount our good news, balancing out the “scaring and scarring?”

Women, Reading and Writing

As a woman, I believe our many online communities for writing and discussing are essential. We are more at ease in our communications than men; we are often too busy to seek friends or maintain relationships that can advise and support us through tough times.

As a woman who wishes to better understand men, I am always delighted when they join the conversation. It is my impression that men share with each other less and differently; we all benefit from an exchange of ideas and perspectives, fears and possible solutions.

  • Do you offer and accept parenting advice online?
  • Do you believe that we focus too much on the struggles?
  • Do you believe we are living an age of  Too Much (scary) Information, and not just online?


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. I can’t say much about this, not being a parent…then again, that’s never stopped me before! When I read your article I was thinking about all the scary stories about childbirth. I got myself around that my reminding myself that every person walking around got here the same way – if their mothers could do it, I would manage somehow…but it was not meant to be.

    The other thought I had was about gardening. Everything I ever read about it talked about the pests, the diseases, the bugs, the horrors! Never about how satisfying it is to pick your food just before you cook it or to congratulate yourself on that wild profusion of orange flowers…

  2. I think I seek out all the learnin’ I can from others who have been there/done that with the struggles. I can get through the easier stuff by myself…it’s the harder stuff I wonder how people got through and how I can get through. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though. I like learning, research and figuring out life so I seek out that information. I don’t have to, but I want to. As with anything, it’s a choice to seek out parenting information or go it on our own 100%. I had kids young, young, young and I was still scared of things happening, things going wrong, tests being offered.

  3. I love the irony of a scary article about too many scary articles! Motherhood IS scary and hard, and the most enduring responsibility, the fiercest of love, and brings about the most intense emotions of all time. If someone is scared off by reading articles about another parent’s angst, fears, or struggles, they probably shouldn’t become parents.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Love that you love my irony, April. :) Yes, parenting is scary stuff. (Fortunately, I have my Dorian Gray-BLW portrait tucked away in the attic!)

  4. BLW, this post has made me ask myself a question: have I learned or read anything on the Internet that has changed how I raise my son, or that has affected my relationship with him? I’m not absolutely sure, but I think the answer is “no.” And I read a lot on the Internet.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Now that one is interesting, Wolf.

      Because from writing on the internet – the process of working through my thoughts and feelings and options – from that, I’ve learned a great deal about parenting, and other things – even at this “late stage.”

      From the comments and from reading others, I’ve learned to try a few things differently, I’ve shifted my perspective on specific topics, and I’ve come to feel far less alone.

      From reading one person in particular – Bruce – I’ve been able to view one of my children in particular somewhat differently, and I’ve tried various approaches as a result (that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise). And that has expanded my parenting arsenal.

      From reading and writing and discussing, I have a sense of community that I didn’t have two years ago – in my “solitary” way of working – a bonus I never expected.

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