What is parenting block? Think writers block, and you’re on the right track; it’s the same principles. Parenting block stops the natural flow, inspiration and creativity for parenting.
More specifically, ’parenting block’ is when you think you have no idea what you’re doing, what to do, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you can even do what you plan on doing when it comes to parenting. It comes in the form of fear, confusion, exhaustion, lack of confidence, emotional instability and a general sense of being overwhelmed. While many of these emotions are felt in parenting, my use of the term ‘parenting block’ refers to feeling stuck in these feelings for longer than you had planned; it’s the getting stuck part.
- Information Overload
- Responsibility Trap
- Everything to Everyone Fatigue
Just seeing these 3 habits in writing and I imagine a head nod from many parents all over the world. No matter what culture, upbringing, parenting approach or age of your child, each and every parent will at some stage either have had parenting block or be in parenting block.
Parenting block zaps the joy out of parenting, strips confidence and contributes to feelings of being ‘not a good enough parent.’ It ads to the feeling that you are limited for choices in your parenting, and it leaves you feeling stuck. In other words, it blocks you from problem solving and being creative, light hearted and optimistic.
So here we go.
Let’s take a look at the three major causes of parenting block and what we can do about it.
Number 1: Information Overload
Information is vital in our parenting. As Maya Angelo says so eloquently, “When we know better we do better.” But information overload, or the feeling of being bombarded with information from too many sources, can lead to complete and utter confusion. Now I’m not referring to a healthy amount of reading, researching and support from others, I’m referring to the feeling of receiving so much information at once that you don’t know what to do with it. I do believe we can read too much or listen to too many opinions on occasions, and that causes us to forget to look within!
I know this may upset some people, however we can get so stricken with parental fear that we think the more we know and the more information we have, the better we will parent. We start to think the answers are outside of us. But I’m not sure that’s true. I think the moment we feel shame when reading something or feel extra desperate to take in information, we should use that as a cue to make space, take a step back and ease back into your natural instincts for parenting your child. This allows you to parent from the heart. When we parent from the heart, we have an inner knowing of what we value, what aligns with our thoughts and feelings, and we make space to move through the emotions rather than resist and battle our way through it.
Number 2: The Responsibility Trap
The responsibility trap blocks you from feeling the peace you deserve in your parenting. It traps you into thinking that if your child does something unacceptable, it is your fault personally, and you can begin to feel a surge of fear that pulls you towards controlled thinking. Overwhelming responsibility tugs you towards controlling your child at every moment in every aspect of their lives and even in the environment surrounding them. You feel that you must take your responsibility seriously, and it is all up to you!
When you are responsible TO your child instead of FOR your child, you have more calm in your parenting. And if your child displays unwanted behavior or does something that you evaluate as unacceptable like biting another child, you can find ways to support and guide in a way that stays focused on connection and what to do for next time instead of focusing on controlling them and being responsible for every mistake they might make.
One quick way to let go of being in the responsibility trap is to make space for ‘grace, gentleness, practice and acceptance’ on a daily basis. This helps you to take the pressure off blaming yourself when things are not going to plan. It allows you to whole-heartedly know that your child is more than capable of handling disappointments. And you can be there to comfort but not own your child’s growth and learning.
Number 3: Everything to Everyone Fatigue
This habit blocks you from being mindful and appreciating the ordinary everyday happenings with your child and family. Even though we know we can’t make others happy, this habit is laced in the desire to please everyone at the expense of inner peace and happiness. We ALL know parenting takes energy of every kind: physical, spiritual, emotional and mental energy.
But you can give your energy without having to feel like you have to be Super Woman or Super Man. Your child already thinks you’re super without continuing to add to your already long job description. The only person you can ‘make’ happy is yourself. While we definitely contribute to other people’s happiness, we are not the happiness fairy. This habit causes unnecessary worry, anxiousness and that low level feeling of yet again of “I’m not enough.” Giving our best and being passionate about parenting does not need to come at the cost of health and well-being. When we are in the ‘everything to everyone’ phase we can feel depleted, angry, exhausted, unappreciated, resentful and worthless.
One way to blow this habit out of the water is to set loving limits and boundaries. A quick and easy way to do it is to have a list of what blesses you and what stresses you. Eliminate some items from the stress list and highlight some from the bless list, and the rest is easy to work out. Do the things that energize you and bring that inner confidence, wisdom and sparkle to your life. Some “me time” can go a long way in refueling the self-love energy tank. When we are stronger and happier, we are better able to give whole-heartedly without any side effects. I’m not talking about a random massage here and there, I’m talking about meaningful, daily moments of connection with yourself.
Without being too pessimistic, there are so many more habits that contribute to parenting block; these are just a few. I hope an awareness of these habits moves you towards the energy, passion, comfort and ease in your parenting that brings the best out in YOU and your FAMILY. And when you find yourself in parenting block, I hope that you can relax, clear the path and find clarity, confidence and certainty in all you need to do to find harmony for you and your family.
Until next time, take care!
Happy, whole-hearted parenting.