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Friday, February 25, 2011

There's Always Therapy

We all make mistakes, all of our lives. It's one of the few things we can never outgrow; our fallibility, our humanity. The task of parenting, being at least a half-life-long adventure, is bound to present lots of opportunities for error. When Jack was born, a good friend gave me a magnet that contained all of the wisdom I really needed to do my job as a parent:
Retrieved February 25, 2011 from http://shop.olivemyfavoritethings.com/MA0220-MA0220.htm

Boy, did that take the pressure off. I'm not, of course, suggesting that this became my operating principle - I didn't set out to mess up my child, just the opposite - but I knew that if ever Jack and I had a bad day it wouldn't be the end of the world. It also reminds me, each time I look at it, not to take myself or this job too seriously.

Parenting is arguably the hardest job there is. I'm not sure I would have believed it before having children, but I believe it now. The reason it's so tough may be that we are more attached to the outcome than with any other job. These are people's lives we are in charge of; our people's lives! We feel like if they don't turn out okay it's entirely our fault, and the rest of the universe will suffer for our mistakes. It's our responsibility alone to turn out a multi-talented, socially-conscious member of society.

No wonder parents are under such stress, and no wonder humour is often the best medicine. There's no more admirable enterprise than parenting, done to the best of one's ability. And when we fall short.... well... there's always therapy!

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