I should have this parenting figured by now, shouldn’t I? I majored in Early Childhood. I was a nanny before a parent. I have five children, plus have fostered several others, in the past 12 years. So why do I feel like I know less than before?
As a young mom, I strived for the Mom of the Year award. I knew I wasn’t close, but at least wanted to give the impression I was! I was mortified if my toddler threw a fit in the grocery store or picked her nose in church. I would never share my fears of failure, ask for advice on that nasty diaper rash or admit that I was struggling in my marriage. Sure, I would discuss the most absorbent diapers with my girlfriends but was so reluctant to share that I didn’t have parenting figured out. I was a pro-mom!
A few years into this parenting journey, one of our children began showing signs of serious mental distress. A tragic event sparked tantrums and nightmares that we didn’t know how to handle. I finally broke down and admitted to our pediatrician that my child’s behavior was causing major disruption in our family and our marriage.
He referred us to a family therapist. It took my husband and I another month of wrestling with our child and our pride before we finally called the therapist. What a huge relief to have someone to share our struggles with! The therapist helped us realize that even ‘pro-parents’ can use some help!
Many years and many children later, I’m continually asking more experienced moms for advice on teenage drama, toddler tantrums and even yeast infections. Nothing is too embarrassing to ask another mom about and share parenting joys and failures. A great mom is not a woman who knows how to parent perfectly. A great mom is a woman who seeks wise counsel.
Last week as I left another therapist’s office with another child, I met a friend raising her grandson (parenting, round two). We gushed over our mutual therapist and as we parted ways I thought, “There goes a wise woman–one who knows how to ask for help!”