Parents: You’re wrong
So, before we begin, let’s define “a parent” shall we? Well, if you are ultimately responsible for a person under the age of 25, no matter how they came into your life, you’re a parent. This should cover biological, adoptive, foster, step or those who have been left in your care. (Have I left anything out?) Basically, if you don’t get to hand over the care of your little person to someone else at the end of the day/night, you’re a parent.
Parents, you are wrong
“Oh but I was parented” you might say. “This qualifies me to judge (people who fall into the classification mentioned above) parents”. Nope, sorry. Even if you believe in “community parenting” but you’ve never made yourself available to take full responsibility for a child, for an extended period of time. You see, the requirement is the “full responsibility” part. FULL RESPONSIBILITY. And I’m sorry but only parents understand what this means.
You know, sitting up with a sick kid all night and then putting in a full day at work in the morning. Or losing sleep over your child being bullied at school and getting nowhere within the school system, no matter how many angles you try.
From the moment a child comes into your life, you pretty much have to come to terms with the fact that, from the world’s perspective, you’re wrong. For example, the minute your fall pregnant, your body is not your own. People (“who mean well”) feel they have the right to offer unsolicited advice. Your food choices are criticized, your appearance is commented on and you have to start defending your choices for/against natural birth, breast/bottle feeding and where you stand on disposable diapers, to perfect strangers. When the child comes into your life in any other way, you still find yourself justifying your choices to perfect strangers. Yet it’s amazing how fast those “well meaning strangers” disappear, the minute something goes wrong.
Like most parents aren’t already working themselves to death trying to do everything they can to do what is best for their child. As if we don’t lie awake at night questioning every, single choice we make and worrying about how this will affect the child in 10/20/50 years time.
We are well aware of the responsibility it takes to raise a child until they are old enough to take care of themselves. And yes, this often means they aren’t ready to do so until they are 25 or older.
Community parenting? What community parenting? In the urban areas of South Africa there is no such thing. Does your child get looked after by a neighbour in the time that they get home from school, and you get home from work? (This is how I was raised for a time in my primary school life.) I know I’m not even comfortable enough to let my child sleep over at a friend’s house. Not only do I fear that something horrible will happen, but I also fear the backlash from the general public if something does. Mea culpa!
We are fighting a losing battle trying to keep our kids alive, but we do it anyway. Even if it kills us in the process. What this world needs is more empathy and less opinion. More love and less “I told you so”.
Parents, you are not wrong! You are doing the best you can. Never stop trying harder and harder to raise your child. It is your right and responsibility.
Does this resonate with you? Please share this post and let’s start a conversation on how we can all be the change we want to see in the world.