I always thought it was ironic that many parents lamented about how tough parenthood was despite the higher education and network exposure we had today. True that children today were different from how we had behaved as children. However, we also had many many resources such as books, websites and connections to support groups.
What was it about us that rendered us so different from our parents’ generation? Most of them had no helpers and they coped majorly fine! Little wonder why each generation thought the younger generation was a strawberry generation.
Perhaps the first thing we could correct was our mentality. It was not about acting as a cool and unruffled parent but genuinely believe that we could make it work and most importantly, be flexible and have a mind of your own. Not everything prescribed in a book or website was a template solution.
Haven’t we learnt from school to study information from a few sources and analyze before putting a report together? How about when we ran science experiments? We needed to have a control setup, change some variables and observe the results. Even if the results did not go according to plan, we were still expected to state the observations. If we could apply that to parenthood, wouldn’t that help us?
My mother was a SAHM to 3 children and she made it look like a breeze. She had no qualms about bringing 3 of us out alone, and sometimes even overseas. She cooked the most awesome meals. She had time to make us do work. Based on her limited network (no social media last time), she was able to find tutors for us when she did not have the tacit knowledge to teach us. Of course, I could not apply her methodology wholesale because our circumstances were different. It was up to me to decipher what worked and picked it up for my own use – as what most companies would call it – ‘best practices’.
As parents, we were meant to be leaders of our children, not managers. The former was doing the right things and the latter was doing things right. Let us not be caught up with doing things right and be in a frenzy about how to do it right, when doing the right things would have achieved better results.
One day, I would expect Z & X to be confident parents too. Of course, I would expect them to be as hands on as Mr H had been.
I felt parenthood was only as tough or easy as we believed it to be. I felt it was akin to saying “I’m not a math person” when someone said parenting was tough.