Parenting is one of the bravest things we do.
It’s hard. We are vulnerable and no matter how hard we try to protect ourselves, we are guaranteed to face uncertainty, emotional exposure and risk.
While I was “sure” at 20 that I would never expose myself to the vulnerability of raising kids, life had other plans for me. In my 20s I met the love of my life who also happened to have not one, but two kids.
Through their youth, I thought being a good person would protect me from the heartache of parenting teens. If I could just do it all perfectly, I would be safe and worthy of their love and belonging.
This soon evolved into, why not have a couple more kids? I’ve got this.
As a bonus mom of two kids and a birth mom of two more, my first pathway to raising teens was a complete ass-kicking. The voices of others (in my head) were in constant judgement of me …
You’re doing it wrong.
If only you were a better person.
How come you can’t do it?
Carol Brady did it so well.
Yes, you remember the tv show from the 1970s … THE BRADY BUNCH.
I spent many years in “compare and despair” mode about the gap between how I parented/bonus parented and how Carol Brady did it on TV with her blended family.
That judgement and shame did not create a feeling of worthiness.
I did not become a better parent. In fact, I tended to offload my pain onto those I loved at home. Instead of seeking support, I hid from my friends and community. I pretended everything was great in public, while I was in so much pain inside myself and with my family.
One day I realized I was comparing my parenting with a television show where the house was always clean, Mike Brady was often home, they had Alice the housekeeper, the ex spouses were never around, and the biggest issue was Marsha Brady getting a football thrown at her nose.
That is perfection and my life was far from it.
I had to stop comparing my real life with this fictionalized story from other people.
I had to stop believing this was the way I was supposed to live my life … and I was doing it wrong.
The writers of THE BRADY BUNCH were not life’s rule makers. Nor were they the grader’s of my life.
This personal pain lead me to the creation of my podcast HOW SHE REALLY DOES IT: the place where inspiration + possibility meet.
I figured there was a better way to live and after looking around for it for a while, I ended up creating what I craved.
I am going through my second round of parenting teens and yes it is still an ass-kicking. We all love each other so much and yet it’s the hardest thing I do.
But this time:
- I don’t beat myself up.
- I reach out for support.
- I stop pretending.
- I own my truth, my mess, and my mistakes.
- I circle back.
- I let go of perfection.
- I am willing to be vulnerable + brave.
- I love myself with my whole heart. And this, my friend, is one of the bravest things I do.
As you go through your parenting journey:
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Stop beating yourself up.
- Own your mistakes.
- Know there will be messes. We all walk through them.
- Love yourself fully.
- And get up and do it all again tomorrow.
At 20, I knew parenting would be hard and uncertain. What I did not know is the strength it would give me and the ability to love myself. I am grateful for being a bonus as well as a birth parent. It has been a challenging but beautiful journey.
And of course, it was always supposed to happen this way, because it did!
If you’re looking for a better way to live, including as a parent, check out my podcast. It’s been running since 2006, and I’m just getting started! See you over there?