In my book there is a huge difference between raising a child and just taking care of one. I have always been judged for my methods and behavior around children and it all started fourteen years ago when my nephew was born and I became his full time babysitter for the first three years of his life. It’s gotten even worse when I had my daughter.
People get scared when I use the word friendship when speaking about the relationship I have with the children close to me and especially when it comes to Ephia. I have said this many times: I do not believe our children belong to us, but to themselves. Our only job is to guide them on their way to happiness even if that means we have to face a way that we would never choose for ourselves. Also children have to wish for you to be their friend, you can’t choose it or wish it for them. There is a very fine line between parenting and being a friend to your child and that line is dangerous to cross, which ever side you cross it to.
Being a stay at home mom or dad with no grandparents or family around to help, you have to be very careful about that line and in my opinion mutual respect is very important in any kind of relationship especially when it comes to children. I sometimes hear parents say: “How can you show respect to a two year old, are you crazy?” or ” I wash him, feed him, offer him all he can possibly want and still he needs something more from me?”. Of course you can show respect to children all ages, because it’s the same thing you are demanding from them. Children are not pets and I know it sounds harsh, but there are so many parents out there who treat their kids that way, who think that if they play the “I took care of you” card, their children should be devoted to them forever. I know it’s hard and sometimes it’s almost impossible to do everything around the house, take care of the baby and also think about your career or have a job, but your children will help you if only you would allow them too.
Whenever I have a bad day, when Ephia is moody, the house is a mess and nothing works the way it’s suppose to, I hit the pause button for five minutes. It’s okay to be exhausted, it’s okay to be worn out and even mad, it’s okay to feel like crap and it’s best to take a break from yourself. Sometimes I even scream silently in my brain and bury my head into my hands, but after those five minutes I smile, because almost always my daughter takes my hands into hers, looks into my eyes and says: “Huc!” (hug). We then try to help each other. She runs or plays around me while I clean up yesterdays mess, we have lunch together and we reserve a whole hour only for ourselves.
For me, you cannot be a parent if your main concern are only the visible parts of your child. He is as much as you a person and he demands his rights, maybe too loud sometimes, or maybe too annoying for us to understand, but the main thing is they are as much frustrated because of us, as we get because of them. So stop, listen and huc.