There is this incredible couple I follow on Instagram - Casey & Meygan Caston. The creators of Marriage 365 (AMAZING!). An excellent resource for up-levelling your relationship.
On this particular day, they shared a post with a comment around parenting that was vulnerable and courageous to share. Part of the description read:
"In all honesty, we’re only okay parents. It hasn’t been our favourite thing in the world. It’s caused way more stress than we thought it would 😩 We are counting the days until we’re empty nesters (don’t judge 😉)"
I loved their honesty. And what they shared is a common sentiment.
I have heard from numerous mothers comment on their parenting - about 85% of mothers that I have spoken to, share a sentiment that they are "average" mothers. One mother even said; "I've accepted that I'm never going to be a great mother!". She was a mother of 2 under two at the time.
In my conversations, mothers who were proud of themselves and loved who they are as a mother - felt that they fell short in other areas of life. "It's all about sacrifice and compromise. To be a great mother, something's got to give!".
Almost all the mother's I spoke to felt that their partner/ spouse had a different parenting style, and they didn't enjoy parenting together.
Here's what I know.
When each of us enters into a committed relationship or marriage - we want to be the best partner we could be.
When each of us enters into parenting - we want to be the best parent we can be.
AND... when we become parents together - we have an unspoken desire to have parenting be filled with partnership, love, and alignment that this journey will expand our love.
So why do our great intentions fall short of reality - and how did we get so resigned within ourselves that things can't be better?
As everyone is unique, as are the dynamics of our relationships and family structures - I don't have answers, and it's a great enquiry to be in. It is worth exploring, investing the time and reflection on where we are right now.
I believe that if we give ourselves the space to feel - we're not ok with mediocre connections. I think that we want to be better than an "average parent" or have an "average partnership when it comes to parenting".
Our connections are our lifeline. The quality of our life is highly dependant on the quality of our connections.
Resignation and cynicism can be seductive, addictive, and can only mask the disappointment for so long.
What would it take for you to enjoy parenting together? What would it take for you to be proud of being a mother - AND a human being?
Being in this enquiry consistently creates powerful connections and families. You love yourself that much more. Your life is a creation; it is in your hands; it is a masterpiece that you craft.
Also - when we're in the enquiry of this question, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. I warn you - it is incredibly uncomfortable, and this is the discomfort that's needed for growth. If it's easy, we will all do it.
My parents didn't enjoy parenting together or individually. I felt I was more of a burden or disruption to their view of life rather than something that could bring them joy, enhance their lives, or a choice that they made. I get it - they were running from a war-torn country; they had no family; their circumstance was challenging.
Their parenting was consumed with sacrifice, survival, and switching from the role of being a martyr or a victim.
Freedom and liberation cannot be found in the world of blame.
Blaming our circumstances, blaming one another, blaming ourselves, blaming whatever the condition that we are dealing with provides nil access to living from hope, love, joy, and connection.
Here's what drives me to be better - To have Avery know, we enjoy parenting. That we are grateful to be his parents - and that our life is that much more vibrant and expanded because of this opportunity of being a parent.
....AND.. what drives me to be better as a partner - To have John know that I am grateful I get to Love him - and equally, my life is more vibrant and expanded because of the opportunity we have to share our life.
Lastly, what drives me to be a better human being and be willing to grow, be kind to myself, be compassionate to myself - because the world doesn't need more hatred, guilt, shame, or mothers/ wives/ females feeling unworthy and not enough. I lived out that belief for 30 years... it got old. I have outgrown that belief system.
Enjoying being a parent has nothing to do with perfection - and everything to do with a commitment of growth, of being open, and a constant enquiry and evaluation of how we are doing. Enjoying parenting or life doesn't mean that we are immune to mistakes and challenges.
The idea of "I'm an okay parent" or "I'm an okay wife/ partner" or "I'm an okay friend" doesn't sit well with me.
I want everyone in my life that matters to me to know how much I love, appreciate and adore them. How grateful I am to be in their world. That if anything was to happen to me tomorrow, they do not doubt that they were loved.
John and I make a conscious effort to take responsibility for our experience of parenting. We aren't immune to the challenges. We work together (and most of the times it's confronting) to uncover why we get triggered and what needs to heal.
Avery is not responsible for making parenting enjoyable for us.
Avery is not responsible for our experience of life and parenting.
We are. We chose this path. We chose to do this together.
Parenting is a mirror of our inner world. Whatever frustration, stress, angst we feel in parenting has NOTHING to do with our child.
Parenting doesn't need to be your most favourite thing in the world or the best thing that has ever happened.
It is possible that becoming a parent can be ONE of the most enjoyable things you have chosen to do, and it has empowered your experience of living.... and that you enjoy being parents together.
If you have read this far - thank-you. I know you're committed to having parenting be transformative. Transformative for you, for your relationship with your partner, and your relationship with your children.
You hold the power. You always have. You have a say in your experience of life.
You - are WORTHY to feel joy, to feel expansive, and to feel empowered.
...Start where you are. Just ask yourself the question; "On a scale of 1 - 10, how much do I enjoy parenting?"
... then ask your partner/ spouse; "On a scale of 1 - 10, how much do you enjoy parenting, and how much do you enjoy parenting with me?".
That is the start of the enquiry. Be open to see what unfolds - and what you both can create.