You can be so smart. You have a college-educated pedigree. You are a mature person with sophistication and depth. You know what you want out of life. You know how to maintain a loving relationship. You have well-thought-out ideas about how to raise your children.
You surely must be living in the B.C. (before children) era, for you are blessed with ignorance. Lucky you!
Now that it’s the A.C. (after children) era, you acknowledge that things have gotten more complicated than you ever imagined. But you have learned a lot.
- You now know that family life rarely operates on those high B.C. principles. Rather, it more often operates on ad hoc compromises, as you struggle to get things done while meeting the needs of both the kids and the adults.
- You now know that you live in a world in which you feel pulled in every which way, not only by the demands of other family members but also by the demands of work, school and after-school activities.
- You now know that “family life” may seem picture-perfect from a distance. But, close up, it is often chaotic as you deal with the external chaos (meals, mess, mouthing off) and the internal chaos (uncertainty, unfairness, upset). Though you work hard to tame the tumultuous parts of your life, success can only be measured in the moment.
- You now are aware that though family drama may be settled momentarily, it always is rehashed at a later date. To deal with the drama, you have downsized your expectations of what “should” be and upgraded your appreciation of “whatever works.”
- You’re now cognizant that your desire to maintain order is a constant struggle. You thought that housekeeping was difficult before kids. Ha! Now, despite having lowered your standards, it’s still a constant effort to create order so that your home is comfortable to live in and possessions can be located when needed.
- You also are aware that your desire to impose a modicum of order in your household is not only about housekeeping. It’s also about not losing your identity. You struggle to ensure that the day does not slip away without doing something that enhances your personal and professional growth.
- You now recognize that despite the many detours of family life, it’s essential to put quality time and energy into maintaining a healthy marital relationship. To float along and hope for the best is insufficient. Sure, things are hectic now. But if your relationship falls apart, your difficulties are first beginning.
- You now know that having children has enriched and enhanced your life. Not only are you richer (though not monetarily), you are also wiser.
Hence, when you hear someone tell you how you should be raising your kids, you can smile serenely. You may choose to respond to the remark. Or not. Nevertheless, you will know that to be absolutely certain about how you should raise your children, you must know very little about what it entails.