Last night, I randomly posted a poll in my Instagram stories.
I wrote: “Parenting in 2021 is hard. I am doing the best I can, but I have NO idea what I am doing.” And then I stuck a poll sticker underneath to see where other people were at.
Unanimously, as of this morning, all parents who answered clicked “Yes, this sucks!” to my poll. Not a one clicked: “No, I’ve got this!”
To be clear, It’s not my kids that are making parenting difficult. Though three boys close in age are capable of tons of mischief!
Instead it’s just helping them navigate the world right now. It’s making decisions for them when I, admittedly, don’t have all the answers myself. It’s answering their big and profound questions (which they have at the most random times) in a way that gets at the heart of what is true while honoring their youth at the same time. It’s helping them understand how to be in the world even as I’m still figuring it out myself.
If you are a parent or a caregiver or a mentor of any kind, maybe you too feel like you mess up on the daily. Maybe you too are still figuring out how to navigate this current reality yourself while guiding others through it.
I see you.
I see you wanting to be strong for them.
I see you wanting to be strong for yourself.
I see you struggling to make the RIGHT choices or even be clear on what they are.
I’m right there too.
But what I have to remind myself often is that I am wonderfully yet imperfectly human.
And my kids need to see that too.
So they can know that strength comes in many forms.
I came across this one sentence in a book by Greg Boyle, SJ this past weekend, and I’ve been looking at it ever since. I’ve been trying to figure out what it means for me right now.
He wrote: “Kindness is the only strength there is.”
Maybe it means this for me right now:
When I am weak, when I am broken, when I mess up, when I fail, when I do the best I can with what I have at a given moment and it still feels like not enough… maybe I can pause to ask myself: “Was I kind? Did I show love?”
And if the answer is yes, maybe I can breathe a little easier knowing that I’ve got one important part covered.