Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Picture Credit: Joy of Mom on Pinterest

Now why is it so?

I am a mother of two girls. I have asked myself a hundred questions on parenting. And I have also answered them myself a thousand times. Every time the answers seem to be different and conflicting. And then I start doubting myself as a parent.

Last week has been a tumultuous one. I have been noticing that this daughter of mine has been avoiding a friend for some time now. Recently the other child’s mother also highlighted this. Sudden rifts are part and parcel of the tween and early teen years. I ignored, but my concerns leaped up. What if my daughter’s funk got more serious? What if she didn’t make another friend at all? What if this turned out to be just the first in a series of traumatic childhood incidents?

“This time is when kids are figuring out who they’ll be as adults. They’re separating emotionally from their families, identifying more with other kids. They often change friends until they find a good fit.”

…says Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of Making Friends: A Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Child’s Friendships.

I tried talking to my daughter to understand the problem first hand. I even spoke to the other child based on the little clues I got from mine. When I found out how silly the matter was, I tried talking to my girl and making her understand the importance of forgiving and moving on. And then I found out that how she had been hiding all her emotions within since a long time and that has made her so negative towards the other child. It took me and the husband almost four days to bring her to a level that she finally broke up and let out a few of those incidents involving her friend that had hurt her in the past. For the father, it was a silly matter, but for me it was something that was making my child struggle within and making her rude. How could I let her become a bad girl?

Was that all that was disturbing me?

NO. The main reason was that I had broken up a long-time friendship a few years ago because I chose to listen to another common friend and trust her word about this good friend bitching about me. I still feel shameful about how I confronted her and what all I said to her. The end result is that I have no friends as on today. My trust from friendship has been broken so many times that I am now scared to be close with anyone. And at this instant, I see my child getting into that mode. I want to protect her from getting hurt again and again. I want to save her from losing trust from relationships. What I am not realizing is that she cannot be protected under my wings for long. She has to move out and learn to handle the world all by herself. She has to learn to fight for her survival. She has to learn her lessons by herself. And the best way would be to let her do it alone.

While I chose to create a mountain out of a molehill, the husband just told her this,

“Before you behave in a particular way with someone, ask yourself if you’re right. The best person to answer this is you alone. And before complaining about someone look into your own behavior in that particular situation.”

Parenting becomes more difficult because every parent is reliving their own childhood and trying to make amendments to their own mistakes through their children. We are knowingly or unknowingly asserting our expectations on them. We burden them with ‘I made this mistake so I’ll not let you make it’ instead of ‘You must make your own mistakes in order to learn your own lessons’.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Period.



22 Replies to “Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world.”

  1. I like this post for a number of reasons.First and foremost, for the last statement. It is incredibly tough to watch them make the ‘same’ mistakes we made and it’s natural and maternal for us to want to protect them. Don’t doubt yourself. You will probably do it again too. There’s nothing wrong with that. I completely get what you mean. Letting go comes very slowly to each of us, but we will reach it for sure.

    Second and this is interesting because I know what you mean about friendship. I was told something about my behaviour via someone else. Now I have no way of confirming if this is true or not. But I chose to judge the person based on hearsay. Which was wrong. Completely. So I did the next best thing. I have now told people that they are free to let me know if someone gives them feedback about my work. If , on the other hand, someone bitches about me, don’t tell me. For one thing, I cannot do anything about it. For another, trying to change another person’s opinion is neither my business nor my right. Each person is entitled to their opinion.

    As for friends, you have one in me, Rekha. This I promise you. I may not be the one you call upon in the middle of desperate situations but for anything, to listen, to hear, to lend a shoulder, I am here. Always.

    1. Thanks a ton, Shailaja! I completely agree about doing the same thing all over again. It is instinctive indeed.

      Your method of asking people to only share the feedback on your work looks interesting. Do let me know how well it works. Most people I feel are more interested in sharing the bitching details and gossiping around it. Which is what makes me avoid everyone. I know it is wrong but I am unable to get myself to trust people again. As they say, once bitten twice shy.

      And thank you for that reassurance. I promise you that I’ll no more say that I don’t have any friend. I may not bug you every once in a while, but would not shy away from reaching out for that shoulder. That’s all that one needs from a friend, isn’t it? A little trust and lots of love.

      Love and hugs!!! ❤

  2. Ah, such is the way of life, isn’t it? As much as we want to protect them, we must sometimes let them make those mistakes in order to learn.
    As for trust – it’s a strange world, these days. People say you shouldn’t trust online relationships much; and I agree. But real-world relationships are pretty complicated too – and sometimes even more difficult to handle. At least in the online world, it’s easier to ignore.

    Having said all that, I’ll mirror what Shailaja said. And I honestly mean it – if you need anything or just need to talk, I’m around. So, if it takes a load off your mind, you do have friends. And will always do.

    1. Thanks a ton, Sid! I do remember the long discussions we have had on this subject during P365 days. I don’t think there’s much difference between online and offline friends. There are all kinds of people everywhere. It is always better to have less expectations from anyone. When the friendship breaks, it will hurt less. But then friendships aren’t made keeping in mind what the future might holds for that relationship…right?? 🙂

  3. Oh yeah, it is hard to watch them make the mistakes we made. But the good thing is we know how it feels and we know what we wanted to hear during ad after. So we can be there watching from a distance while they make the mistake and rush to them when they need our guidance in any way. When they make different mistakes from ours then we have nothing else to do other than to learn from that. You are right, parenting is the hardest job, no doubt. Sorry for the ramble, I try to see positives in everything and this was another attempt to do so. There were few friends who I had to let go because I got hurt. Even today the backstabbing hurts me but I am healing fast now that I am not in their company. 🙂 And I am happier now, as I found a lot more genuine friendships through blogging. The learning continues. 🙂 Hugs, Rekha.

    1. “…it is hard to watch them make the mistakes we made. But the good thing is we know how it feels and we know what we wanted to hear during ad after.”

      So very true, Vinitha! And I really appreciate you for bringing this angle to me. I am also glad that you try and find the positives in every situation. It does make sense. Hugs back to you. 🙂

  4. We’ve all been there. We’ve made mistakes we repent now and it is natural if we don’t want our kids to make them.
    I lost a friend to hearsay…my best friend…a long time back. Fortunately, we spoke and patched up and before acting on anything decided to come to each other first.

      1. Lucky you, Varsh! My friend has moved on to a distant place and I feel so bad that I could not meet her and seek forgiveness for that one last time. And what you said is very true about the fathers. For them everything is straightforward and simple. It is us Moms who complicate things because of over-thinking.

  5. Uff been there done that – with the kids, I mean. Friendships are such a huge issue with them. My daughter and her friends are fighting and making up almost everyday. And if you see the tears you’d think they’d never get back again yet they do, each time. And it’s worse somedays because if my son doesn’t like of her friends he’ll bug her no end to not be friends with the girl. Lord!! There’s enough politics to drive me up the wall. I AM glad you realised the fight is BIG for your daughter even though to us it might seem silly or inconsequential. You’re a smart mum Rekha.

    1. Tulika, bang on! The one person who is struggling the most is the other sister who is also friends with this third girl. The elder one tells her to stay away from the friend and the younger one wants them to patch up fast so that they can play together. It’s such a difficult task to maintain balance.

  6. Can’t agree more. It’s difficult and heart-rending to watch them doing the same mistake over and over again, every parent has felt the pain. But, still, I think this is what makes them strong and able enough to face the world outside…the crude, cruel world. We can’t keep them under our wings for long and before they are on their own, they should learn to combat.

  7. Parenting is difficult because we relive our childhood… so true. Instead of healing ourselves we try to fix the child. But it is done with good intentions, no? So experience is not lost and wisdom shared?

    1. Yeah! That’s exactly why I believe in sharing. But this girl it seems is already displaying teen trouble and is behaving stubbornly. She has closed her mind on whatever we try to tell her with regard to this friendship. At times I feel like I am the one that actually needs counselling. Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective, Bhavana!

  8. That’s so true Rekha. We are reliving our own childhood through our children and someway correcting the wrongs we may have done. I admire how you are forthright about the wrongs that you may have done and accept it. Not everybody is able to see their own faults.

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