Nothing can totally prepare you for children until you hold that delicious warm newborn close to your body and breath them in. The biggest journey starts right then and there. How each parent feels from that point on is really different. How they continue to feel is also very different. As the days turn into weeks and months, even years the breadth and depth of emotion for each parent is enormous. The challenges they face can vary too. It is a steep learning curve for many. For others it is a downhill slope at 85 degrees.
But what is constant in this whole complexity of parenthood is that we are parents. What is constant is that we all know that parenting is one of the toughest gigs you can get. Give me an executive and some union heavies any day and I’ll get you a resolution. Make me vacuum under the dining table for the fifth time in one day, I might just cry. Some days I do. But in the big scheme of things I am not alone. Neither are you.
That sense of not knowing what to do next. Feeling so completely overwhelmed with daily tasks, crying babies that just don’t settle, poo all over the toilet seat, nothing ready for the kids dinner at 5pm.
All of these things, all at once, or even one at at time can take your breath away. And while you’re not really breathing you might hope someone will walk through that door and direct you to the shower. Oh how you’ve been busting to wash your hair. You keep hoping. Maybe someone does walk through the door, maybe they don’t. You are still not alone in your thoughts. But make those thoughts verbal.
Isolation in parenting is so common. You’d think that having kids will keep you connected with the outside world. Sometimes it keeps you away and you need to stay home, or just stay local. Sometimes you’re kids might have to jump out of the car at school drop off because you just can’t get it together. But you still send them to school, you just keep your head above water. You always do.
R U OK? Day is today, 15 September. It is a national call to action for friends, family, work colleagues and sporting pals to engage in meaningful conversation with each other. It is to talk about how they are. It is also about listening to the answer. The question is simple. R U OK? You ask because you want to know the truth. You do not have to have the answers. What you need to have is the ability to listen and hear each word that is spoken in return. If you are not satisfied with the response, ask another question. Keep listening.
On the flip side if you are asked how you are, it is OK to say you are not OK. Even if you are not asked, tell people how you are anyway. It is important to speak the truth about how you are feeling. A meaningful conversation with people you trust can lift a load of worry off your soul. Talking can possibly make the horizon clearer for you to see what you need to do to get where you want to go.
Every day is an opportunity to connect and ask R U OK? Please make today, 15 September the first day of being especially aware of those around you and also being aware of your true emotional and mental wellbeing. Our lives are precious, our children are precious. So please of all the messages of the day, know you are so important to your children and your family and you are worth every effort for a happy life. Tell your friends and family you think they are precious too and you do really want to ask them R U OK?
There are many more stories being shared on the bloggosphere today. To read some truly inspiring and honest posts visit My Big Nutshell for the R U OK? Day 2011: The blogger collective.