This Is Why We Can’t All Be The Same Parents

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” –Carl Jung

Life is a series of events. The one moment you feel like you have it all figured out, and then the next thing you know you’re walking up a flight of stairs with your daughter hanging onto dear life on your boob as you try to make it to the top. So, there I was on Saturday morning after running some errands with my boob hanging out. While my daughter was trying her best to keep a straight face. She’s become very demanding as she gets older, yet she enjoys a good chuckle at me once in a while. I don’t think that she looks at me and thinks that I’m the face of authority in this house. I try my best to keep a straight face and enforce some strict rules. Yet, I don’t really think that she takes me seriously enough. If she doesn’t give me a stank face, she just laughs at me and carries on with what she’s doing. She’s not disrespectful or anything like that before you start thinking otherwise, she’s just stubborn when it comes to certain things. So, you have to think of different ways to get her to do things.

For the past week, she’s been refusing to eat much. She’s going through another growth spurt and it’s the most difficult phase for her. She’s becoming aware of her emotions, yet she can’t find a way to tell us how she feels. Sometimes, she doesn’t want either of us next to her. And it’s okay. She’s going through an accelerated growth phase that’s affecting her emotionally. All that we can do is reassure her that she’s okay. I think that this has helped her somehow. Her tantrums are very mild, as long as you give her space to handle whatever it is that she’s feeling. Once she’s resolved her emotions, she’ll come back and hug us, as if to say “thank you for understanding”. So far, we haven’t dealt with any meltdowns in front of people. They’re usually confined behind our closed doors. 

When she was younger things were a lot easier. I could control when and how we did things. Lately, she’s become very assertive about what she wants and how she wants things done. It made me wonder if all parents go through the things that I go through with my daughter. Of course, there are some similarities with the milestones that kids go through. But even then, it’s not always guaranteed that your child will get to experience the same milestones as your neighbour’s child. Take my daughter, for instance, she’s done teething and she’s only 19 months (that’s a year and 7 months old, in case you’re running the numbers in your head). The funny thing is I never used to understand why parents use what seems like complicated months to tell you how old their child is. Look at me now!

Nonetheless, I guess this is where we’re similar as parents. We fold in some cases to fit in with the rest of the parenting world. A world that can be full of judgments when you change the unwritten laws of parenthood. I’m certain that you’ve had your fair share of people having opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do. As a result, you start preserving your peace by staying away from certain people. 

Then there are those parents that seem to have it all on lock. They have time to curate content for their social media pages with their adorable looking kids on tow. I often wonder how long it must take to get their kids to stand still and take many pictures. I can’t even get a simple picture nowadays, if I’m lucky to get one, it comes out looking blurry. But this is the thing, right? We can’t be the same parents, no matter how much you try to copy the trendiest mom or that cool dad that you see. The thing is, we have very different children. Even if you have more than one child, you can’t use the same template to raise all of them.

On Saturday, when we were hanging out, my partner’s ex referred to how much our children are different. So much so that my partner feels like he’s being a father for the first time. None of the things that worked with his first child work with our child. Initially, this caused a bit of tension between us because we have very different parenting styles. But I think he’s finally realizing that with our child he needs to forget all that he thought he knew. He’s raising a completely different child. This can cause self-doubt in parents who think that they’ve mastered it the first time around. Yet, it’s still important to understand why we just can’t be the same parents.

We’re shaped by different experiences that make us the parents that we are. At times our experiences can outweigh the expectations that we have when we finally become parents. In addition, every child is unique, even though there are similarities with milestones and personalities. So, if you’re feeling like you’re not doing as well as your friends when it comes to parenting, you should give yourself a break.

It’s not you, well hopefully not, but it just means that your child has different needs even when you compare them to their siblings. Since I love reading up on things before I have an opinion, I’ve read a few articles on why children differ so much. Sometimes gene influence can play a major role outside of the environment or your parenting style. This is why it’s important to be kinder to yourself and to limit comparing yourself to your friends or your child to other children. 

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