The messages we often get are that having a new baby is a joyful experience, raising toddlers is delightful, and as our kids continue to grow parenting just becomes more fulfilling. However; if we don’t always feel this way or rarely feel the joy of parenting, we are instead filled with shame. There must be something wrong with me because I cannot enjoy parenting more, easily manage my child’s difficult behavior, and continue to grow closer to my spouse as our family grows.
As a society, we no longer raise our children in small communities where we learn from our Mothers, Grandmothers, or Aunts that they too had similar struggles, letting us know we are not alone. Instead, we are often distant from family either geographically, relationally, or both. We may not have a strong sense of community or a place we feel we truly belong. We may or may not have friends with children going through the same things. If we do, we may not be close enough to share our real struggles. Instead, the relationship feels more like a comparison game were we always come up short. Thinking to ourselves, “They seem to have it all figured out, being so calm and happy. Why can’t I feel that way?”