For our first episode Zack and I decided to tackle a pretty impossible question, "Why is parenting so hard?" We did some research, chatted with other parents, recorded our friend Ali, and shared some previously documented recordings. Here's the general overview.
The idea that we are no longer raising our children to take over the family farm or other type of business really hit the nail on the head for me. Rather than having a specific, direct path we have the opportunity to prepare our children to do whatever their hearts desire. This has put parents in a unique roll since the 70's as we are left to prepare our children for a world of possibilities.
What is the general reaction? Enroll them in as many language speaking courses, athletic activities, social programs and clubs as the week will allow. There are even parents who have taken to "kinder-cramming" bootcamp where they hire professionals for exorbitant amounts of money to tutor their 3 and 4 year olds so they can get into the best of the best schools for kindergarten.
As American parents we are lost. Similar to the abundance of cuisines available in the United States we have yet to come to a conclusion on our diet, or in this case, our parenting style. We are victims of "too many choices" or "too much freedom". There are a million and one ways to parent and were all convinced we're doing it wrong or right depending on how the day is going. Moms are categorized into a number of stereotypes. There's the brain developer, the protector, the martyr, the crunchy mom, the fast food mom, the ultra controlling mom, the laid back mom, the executive and the housekeeper. And more often than not we are all trying to be each one of those moms simultaneously to mold the perfect, and most well adjusted child.
But, I'm not perfect. And you're not perfect. And this world certainly isn't perfect. If you want my opinion I think mothers would be better off cutting themselves some slack because if you want to prepare your child for the world, don't you want them to know how to handle life and it's imperfections? Maybe this means they don't know three languages when they enter kindergarten. I speak one language and I'm doing just fine. This isn't to say mothers don't have the best intentions, I truly believe that most do.
So why is parenting so hard?
In an effort to provide our children with the most perfect life we often times sacrifice ourselves (martyr mom) and what we need and want. Our schedules are so overrun by playdates and our kid's activities that we leave very little room for leisure, our relationships and our passions leaving us unfulfilled.
So what is the solution?
I say go with your gut - your maternal instinct or paternal instinct. The mistakes you make so long as they aren't putting your child in deep emotional or physical harm will most likely make them better and stronger.
More on the podcast. And a special thanks to the Underscore Orchestra, whose song “New Town Klezmer” was featured at the beginning of this episode and Tri-Tachyon, whose song "Little Lily Swing” we used to open our main story. And thank you to Alternative Views for providing the audio of Dr. Spock. As always, thank you to Anthony Eslick for providing the artwork and theme song for this show. You can find more of his work at anthonyeslick.com.
Photo by Amy Frances.