Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are you as tired of child-raising as I am of my friends?

Some people in the world can’t help but love their jobs. Beyond Annie Leibovitz, there are everyday people who get remunerated for doing stuff most of us would actually pay up to do.

My friend Kath has one of these jobs. She works for WWF and is always sending me updates on Earth Hour. She is utterly passionate about her work and gets money every month for doing her bit to save the planet.

Another friend of mine (let’s just call him Mr G) works for a big IT company (the biggest) and I don’t know what his title is but I do know much of his everyday toil involves getting ridiculously famous music acts to appear in Australia and attending those events. Probably something to do with sponsorships but I stopped listening after I realised what a sweet deal he was on. He sucks!

Another one of my friends, Ms Mel works in TV and in addition to working ridiculously hard to produce a movie show, she gets to interview celebrities, go to advance screenings and attend red carpet premieres. She also gets to invite friends along on occasion and knows that I will forever be her friend after she took me to the Sex & the City Australian premiere – just another day in the office for her was a counting-down-the-sleeps extravaganza for me. (I hope she knows this isn’t the only reason I’m her friend ... she’s also one of my best babysitters).

Why am I telling you this? So you can hate my friends as much as I do? Yes. But also, because I’ve experienced a little perk in my own work recently that I want to share with exhausted parents of the universe.

Not long ago, I was helping a client out with an interview on Channel 7’s Morning Show when she reminded me I had to eat.


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Clinical psychologist, Renee Mill was on TV talking about her advice to parents when she made the comment “you can’t function properly when you neglect to eat your own breakfast because you're too busy looking after everyone else.” Oh yeah! So, that’s why my stomach was almost aching and I was almost passing out with hunger!

I sometimes can’t believe that Renee is the one who employs my time when I get so many benefits from her and I don’t feel the least bit conflicted about sharing news Renee Mill’s book with like-minded, losing-our-minds carers-of-small-young-people.

Benefits like helping me see that I’m not doing my children any favours by doing every little thing for them and it's a good thing to step back and allowing them to make harmless mistakes. That way, in years to come, there’s more chance they won’t utterly freak out and lose focus because they are on their way to a job interview and realise they are wearing two same-colour but different-height shoes by accident (hey, it was an early start that morning people!).

Renee also doesn’t reckon mums and dads should beat themselves up if getting down on the floor and playing with trucks or play dough is not your thing - so long as you find other meaningful ways to connect with your kids and take interest in their fun.

You see, Renee has been talking to parents like me for 30 years and she has discovered that our biggest complaint is exhaustion. (Wake up!)

What’s more, we are making ourselves tired by stifling our own peace of mind with unnecessary expectations. Six parenting myths in particular are driving us bonkers.

Perfection parenting is a myth according to Renee, and if we exhausted mums and dads stopped putting unnecessary pressures on ourselves, we and our kids would be a whole lot better off.

She is so playing my song. (If it’s your song too, you can find out more about No Sweat Parenting here. I believe it's also available in the US now too.)


6 Parenting Myths parents torture themselves with:

  1. I must be the perfect parent
  2. If I am firm my child will have low self-esteem
  3. Quality time means playing with my child
  4. Parenting and adult life have to be conducted separately
  5. Material benefits bring happiness
  6. I must do everything for my child so that they will feel good about themself and feel safe in the world

1 comment:

  1. Loving this post. The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect parents is ridiculous. No wonder we're all exhausted! Here's to just being "good enough" mums.

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