When a friend sent me this image of some graffiti scribbled on a car-park column, it got me thinking. As much as I don’t like to admit it, there are times when I feel a genuine lack of care for enacting my aspirations as a parent. I can feel apathy about whether or not my child watches another hour of television, or plays with a toy gun, or perhaps plays a computer game for more than the time usually permitted.
We are completely bombarded with ways to be a better parent, to do things that raise our children to be more resilient even on this blog, I’ll admit. Yet it is so very important to also keep the balance and allow ourselves our human limitations. It is difficult in a world full of advice to cut ourselves some slack. We see too much perfection, and we know far too much about the cost of our failures to our future grown-up children.
Yet still, with a wave of parental apathy, swiftly followed by a slight sense of shame or guilt, I will leave another box on the perfect-parent-survey un-checked. But, WHATevs…. sometimes we all need a break. And I honestly think that is MORE than okay. Not only okay, but it is also necessary.
One saving grace that arises out of this scenario: sometimes before that hour of against-the-rules TV is finished, or just after the protests at the request to turn it off, a sense of gratitude kicks in.
Is it possible to be grateful for gratitude? In this case, I would say yes! And as the wave of gratitude slowly makes its way to the banks of my awareness, I come back to my senses about how amazing it is to be a parent at all. How much I am called to expand my sense of self, my patience, my absolute saintliness, by parenting to the best of my ability. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be part of a family – any family, let alone one I truly adore.
So fight apathy, or don’t, it doesn’t matter. Eventually, change happens whether you like it or not. Eventually, we will most likely wish we had a child young enough to still be living at home, and for a simpler time when all that child needed to be happy was a little more time on the television.
And with that… the apathy is gone.