“Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.”
When I hear this sentiment uttered, it evokes an image of an elderly grandmother as she glides past a mother and her prostrated, screaming child in an aisle at Target. The child is having a full blown meltdown and the mother, exasperated, is attempting to do everything in her power to just get that child up off the floor and the hell out of the store. The grandmother, an “all knowing” smile on her face, chuckles to herself as she walks by while whispering this statement to the mom.
We have all been there. You know—those terrible and terrifying moments of parenting when all you can think is, “I have no idea what I am doing, but I hope to God it’s the right thing.”
I recently wrote a post called https://manvsmommy.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/adhd-how-my-son-is-already-failing-the-first-grade/. Many people commented, but even more people sent me private messages or approached me personally. The circumstances of each person’s story varied, but the feelings shared were all the same, those of utter and complete helplessness.
“I work on her reading every night with her, but she’s not improving at all.”
“I’ve taken him to every feeding specialist there is, but he’s just not eating well.”
“I tried a new psychologist yesterday, but she seemed like all of the rest.”
“I tried a new medicine, but her asthma attacks are still so severe.”
The desperation in their accounts is palpable; it is laced with a sense of helplessness and a desire for a renewed sense of hope. As parents, we try everything for our children. No stone goes unturned. No book, pamphlet, webinar, or podcast is missed. We are willing to listen to people screaming from atop their soapboxes if it means that there might be some answer to the challenges we face with our kids.
Feeling helpless as a parent has become as much a part of me as feeling like a successful one. I do all I can for my children; I am trying my absolute hardest—but at times it seems insufficient. I can read the books, study them, highlight the important passages, and then put their suggestions into play. I can talk to the doctors, see new doctors, and take suggestions from other parents in similar situations, but nothing appears to change. At one point, we just have to accept that we have done all we can do and let our faith do the rest.
Parenting is one part helplessness, one part hope, and the rest, blind faith.
As helpless as I feel, I have faith. I believe that although I might not see immediate change, the fact that I am doing everything I can is enough. I know that my heart is in the right place, it is with my children every day. I understand that I will not feel helpless forever, and that there will be times where I feel completely ahead of the parenting game. I trust that my best is good enough and that as long as I keep fighting things will continue to keep moving in the right direction.
The periods of time when I feel most helpless are also those that require me to have the most hope and the largest amount of blind faith. I do not do it alone. I count on my husband, my family and my support network. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child; it takes a village to raise a parent.