When the boys were babies and I took them to groups or to meet up with friends, I never felt that I was allowed to talk about any of the things I found difficult. There seemed to be some kind of unspoken rule that if you admitted that parenting wasn't how you thought it would be then you must be a BAD parent. So I glossed over the exhaustion and how significantly my life had changed and how I felt quite adrift from myself and as a result, no-one knew I was struggling.
Today though, at the park, I bumped into a woman I've met a few times over the years, and her 2 boys, who are a similar age to mine and we starting chatting about our experiences of being a parent. I'm still thinking about our conversation now, not because it was particularly insightful or inspiring, but because it was honest.
I won't bore you with our personal tales of woe. What it all boiled down to is this; parenting small children is relentless. And you know what, it's okay to say that. It doesn't mean that you don't love your children or you wish you weren't a parent. It is what it is.
It felt so good to speak with someone that understood and who agreed that being a parent isn't a bed of roses. There was no judgement, no criticism, no condescension. Neither of us are perfect but we're doing the best we can and we're not alone. And that knowledge builds further faith in our parenting abilities.
Being a parent is TOUGH. This is the hardest "job" I've ever don. But as long as I can admit that, I don't think I can go too far wrong.