Parenting from A Place of Rest
 

Parenting From A Place of Rest

Embrace the imperfections of parenthood

By Tracey Or | 26 January, 2019

Most people stare at me and the husband in mock amazement (read: mild horror) when they find out that we will soon be parents to six kids.

“How do you do it?”

“How do you cope?”

And the clincher: “You must like children very much!”

It is almost as if we’d discovered a certain elixir to surviving parenthood so much so that we would “risk our sanity” by having more children. However, the thought that we could be parenting experts by now couldn’t be further from the truth.

We are still learning every single day.

Are we tired? Of course.

But we are not tired of parenting and certainly not of our kids.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Parenting fatigue

Parenting is frankly one of the most intense and mind-numbingly draining activities on earth. It is incredibly hard work. Every time you reach a stage where you think you’ve figured it all out and can finally cruise along, something comes and throws you off-course.

There is no end. Weekend commitments like enrichment classes and the day-to-day logistics of shuttling to and from school and work can be all-consuming. We are also 24-hour counsellors, relationship managers and after-school teachers rolled into one.

How can parents survive this long-haul journey without burning out?

It may sound surprisingly simply but it is by far the best advice that my husband and I stick by: We find time to REST.

Parenting from rest

Through trial and error, we have found some ways to parent our kids from a place of rest. Here are some tips you can try out:

1. Stop aiming to be the perfect parent

The most restful way to parent is to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We WILL make mistakes; so will our children.

We’ve stopped searching for that one magical formula or method that works. There is none. We have simply come to terms with the fact that we are, and are raising, vulnerable and volatile human beings. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that parenthood will bring out the most vulnerable aspects of ourselves and of our children.

The sooner we learn to embrace this and anticipate those moments as part of the journey of parenthood, the more we can enjoy the process of learning and relating to our kids.

2. Avoid the poison apple of comparison

Stay clear from the temptation of comparing yourself or your children – it is essential to your well-being. In the familiar fairytale Snow White, the queen was driven to jealousy and envy as she compared herself with Snow White’s innocent beauty and realised she could never measure up.

There is no benefit in choking ourselves with feelings of inadequacy or thoughts of short-changing our kids.

I’ve stopped weighing in too heavily on other people’s opinions about how I should be raising my kids or running my household. We have also learnt to celebrate our children at whatever point they are at and to appreciate their growth, however big or small.

The plumb line of happiness and restfulness in the home greatly depends on the peace we make with ourselves and how much we choose to focus on the positive.

The plumb line of happiness and restfulness in the home greatly depends on the peace we make with ourselves and how much we choose to focus on the positive.

3. Sleep well and reconnect

Yes, we need physical rest too and we should take our own well-being, and mental and emotional space very seriously.

Many times we lash out rather than respond to our family when we are sleep-deprived or time-starved. Without the time or space to process our thoughts and feelings, it becomes easy to parent from a place of fear and anxiety.

Sometimes doing nothing is exactly what we need, so avoid over-scheduling yourself or your child and leave pockets of time for quiet and rest.

These give us the space to cultivate emotional intimacy with our spouse and children, whether it is through a date, a family meal, or a round of board games.

Sometimes doing nothing is exactly what we need, so avoid over-scheduling yourself or your child and leave pockets of time for quiet and rest.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Parenting IS tiring, and it is usually the grind of the everyday that drains us. However, focusing on the long haul can make managing the day to day household affairs more bearable. Author Sarah Mackenzie writes, “ Rest begins with acceptance. Or, perhaps more accurately, with surrender. There will always be more you can do. You will never complete your tasks entirely, because just on the horizon is tomorrow, and tomorrow the to-do list starts anew.

“It is so exhausting—sometimes even demoralising—to realize that our work in raising up and teaching our children is never really done. But we must remember that we were never intended to finish it. The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”

5. Believe that things will work out

In the end, parenting from rest also means believing that if I sow with the little that I have faithfully, every day, things will somehow work themselves out in the end.

It’s not so much what I do as a parent that will make a pivotal difference. Rather, it is more important that I put my heart into everything I do. This is what will keep me going, through the good times as well as the bad.

Parenting from rest also means believing that if I sow with the little that I have faithfully, every day, things will somehow work themselves out in the end.

Tracey Or is a full time mother of six, part-time dreamer and writer at her blog, Memoirs of a Budget Mum. Those who know her well knows she gets through life with a good joke, coffee and the occasional Netflix.

Think about:

  • In what way can you avoid ‘sweating the small stuff’ this week?
  • If you have a tween aged 11-14 years old, do join us for Create with Mum – a fun bonding event designed to help mothers and youths navigate the challenges of teenhood with confidence.


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