Today someone on Twitter shared an incident about a pair of nutters whose 11-month old died of a pneumonia-related illness due to vitamin deficiency because their parents were vegans and only wanted to feed her breast milk.
It’s not easy being a parent. It’s a job that doesn’t require any pre-requisites, but yet is one of the most demanding positions with the most difficult bosses that one can ever aspire to. I’m sure then, as a parent, it will cross your mind at one time or another, whether you or anyone else is fit to be a parent. I remember a story that one of my friends highlighted a while ago – The Girl In the Window. In short, she had a mother with a low IQ, so she spent the first 7 years of her life in squalid conditions and due to the lack of interactivity, did not develop well physically or mentally.
Often when we read of cases of abuse, it’s pretty clear that it’s wrong, but I’m sure as the vegans proved, sometimes people are just misguided. Not everyone has access to good information, or help that is experienced. Some also come onto the job not wanting to be there and find it hard to meet the demands of the position.
But these stories are at one extreme. Every day, as parents, we’re struggling to do our best, with what information we have. I once read in one of the Positive Discipline* books that when we work, we try to upgrade our skills and learn more so that we can advance. So likewise for parenting, which is very much a job (and more!), we should also continue learning and sharing. I really wish I had time to read more, to learn more, but with looking after 2 monsters I hardly even have time to sit down sometimes!
And with any job, there are often times when we wonder whether we’re fit to be parents, or why we’re even parents. I think parenting has certainly brought out the worst in me – short temper, lots of scolding, and great fun to be with when I haven’t had enough sleep (not!). I like to think that our children are gifts from God, and that they come to us, rather than we ask for them (so if next time they try and pull the “I didn’t ask to be born” card with me, I’m certainly going to give it to them!), so they or God must know their purpose in our lives. Although some days it feels like that purpose is to see how little sleep one can survive on.
Parenting is really the ultimate lifelong learning experience!