Home' Aurora : Aurora May 2015 Contents 13
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
As Mother's Day approaches , Joanne Isaac
issues a challenge to modern parents.
I have misplaced my three-year-old a
number of times in the last six months .
Thankfully, on each occasion, he has
emerged from his hiding place with a
triumphant smile on his face. In those few
frantic, tearful minutes though I have truly
felt like the world's worst mother.
You could say I'm in the midst of it in
terms of 21st century mothering !
My kids are nine, seven and three. I work,
study and try to make sure they eat
healthy home-cooked food more often
than not. I read with them, listen, umpire,
step up, pick up and clean up. I sign notes,
wipe tear s and noses and take them
to their spor ts. I worry, make mistakes
and over-think most things. I literally
spend each day moving from one task to
another. The to-do list never gets smaller.
And the kids? Well, they argue, they
don't listen, they fight, they haggle, they
make a mess, they yell, and if you're
in it for all those appreciative pats on
the back they're going to give you; well
you should rethink your vocation. The
most impressive skill I have developed
in the past 10 years is my ability to
Modern parenting is set in a whole
new landscape. We are more stressed
and over-scheduled than parents of
gener ations pa st. We live our lives
at a frenetic pace and in the age of
social media our choices as parents
have never before been so public or
Information is so readily available to
assist us now, but how much of it is
A quick search on Google netted the
following ar ticles -- '10 simple ways
to slow down and make your child's
day', 'encouraging good eating habits
r espectfully', 'what to feed your kids for
maximum br ain power', '5 simple ways to
connect with your kids' (shouldn't it be
obvious?), '6 tips to make you look more
awake' (I must admit I read this one). You
could look at this as a fantastic way of
improving yourself and your relationship
with your kids or you could cynically
regard it as the new guilt frontier. On the
internet, there is always someone who
does something better than you, who
knows more than you, who is parenting
in a more thoughtful way. And the focus
is on the negative -- it's always about what
you're doing wrong!
IN THE MIDST OF IT
The inter net is a gr eat tool, no doubt, but
with parenting it so often complicates
what should be blatantly obvious. Our
kids need our love, attention and suppor t.
It's pretty simple. I would rather follow
the example of my husband who never
looks at parenting ar ticles, but instinctively
knows exactly how to do it really well.
Last week he said to the kids, "Let's paint"
and when they asked what they should
paint he replied "Each other! " They had
a ball and he didn't need someone in a
book or on the inter net to tell him what
would make them happy.
A recent ar ticle by psychologist, John
Rosemond, on the Essential Kids website
was titled, 'How to stop wor r ying and
just be a mum'. Rosemond believes
that the fir st moder n parenting book,
Between Parent and Child by Haim
Ginott, published in 1965, marked the
beginning of the age of the over-stressed
parent. Ginott's focus was on the need
for parents to "cor rectly read, interpret
and r espond to their children's feelings
properly" according to Rosemond.
Rosemond points out that there are
currently more than 103,000 parenting
books listed on Amazon. These parenting
books "cause mother s to agonise over
minutiae, second-guess themselves and
believe they must be constantly on their
parenting toes lest they miss or mishandle
something", Rosemond says.
The truth is that we're all a work in
progress, parents and children alike, all
trying our best. When it comes to our
kids , the majority of us want them to be
happy, to be kind and to embr ace the
oppor tunities that come their way. In
this age of infor mation overload, inter net
trolls and the picture -per fect illusions
staring out at you from social media, I
believe we have to get back to basics
and star t focusing on all the things we're
getting right (most of the time !). It might
be a good idea to put down the books
and the tablet and trust in our own
American author Jennifer Senior, when
discussing her book All Joy and No Fun :
The Paradox of Modern Parenthood with
Jennifer Marquez in Parade's Com munity
Table, said, "I think the best thing you
means to be a 'good' parent, and just do
your best day today. We're living without
a script and everybody is improvising
wildly. We are not supposed to know the
answer s . There are no answer s! ".
Being a parent will always be stressful
because from the minute you know
they're on the way, your children will
invade your hear t and fill you with
an incompar able love. Stress is surely
the day-to-day act of hoping against
hope that your precious, ir replaceable
children are ok.
And it's impor tant to remember that even
though it takes a militar y oper ation to
get them ready for school every mor ning
(oh how we long for school holidays)
and they can be more exasperating than
anyone you have ever met befor e, they
are also the funniest, sweetest and most
irresistible loves of your life ! Who else
will tell you that your eyebrows are like a
forest of monkeys, or hug you like a koala
for whole minutes at a time or open their
hear ts to you and lay themselves bare
because they tr ust you so implicitly?
Yes, we are busy and modern parenting
can be hard, but we are also privileged.
Let's tune out the noise and tr ust our
instincts. Take it day by day and enjoy it
while we can. These moments will be all
too fleeting, good and bad.
So on Mother's Day 2015, I want to say
to mother s -- you are doing a wonder ful
job ! Your children are lucky to have you.
For those who have lost their mum, and
mums who have lost their children, we
remember you especially on
Having fun painting each other!
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