Dear Mom: Adulting is Hard. If You Don’t Have This All Figured Out – It’s OK
Times have changed and what we are asked to handle now is not only so much more than our parents had to handle, it is so much more than we had to handle just one year ago! You are cook, driver, psychologist, custodian, enforcer, nurturer and advocate all wrapped into one human being.
We Are in the Parenting Equivalent Of the Industrial Revolution
Do you wonder how we can help our children self-advocate, cope with anxiety, confront mean girls, jock boys, come to terms with not making the team or to face disappointment when you are barely hanging on by a thread?
With so many demands on parents now a days, it’s no wonder we feel burned out and overwhelmed. No one has this all figured out – that is why there are so many parenting books, forums, blogs, TikTok videos, Instagram posts and parent support groups. We are in the parenting equivalent to the industrial revolution – trying to figure out a new, unchartered landscape that will change parenting forever. If there is any consolation, we are all facing this together!
How Parenting Has Changed Over the Past 20 Years
- IT Specialization – Parenting now requires us to manage technology at home for school, work and socializations while creating screen time boundaries!
- Masters in Uncomfortable Dialog – Parents now discuss sex, body image, gender identity, drugs and alcohol while managing misinformation and inappropriate media sources.
- Bully Busters – We are now helping even young children cope with the emotional issues caused by a life lived online.
- Self-Doubters – Information overload about trends in nutrition, parenting strategies and lifestyles leads modern parents feeling even mundane things must be analyzed, adjusted and improved.
- Calendar Police – Our daily schedules have become so much more structured due to dual income, a focus on academic achievement and our children’s activities that most of our days are spent planning and organizing.
- Sole Provider – An increase in single parent homes has also changed the way parents play, discipline, arrange play dates and enrichment to keep up with hectic dual home competitors.
- Helicopter Operator – A fear of violence and stranger danger has also changed how parents approach their child’s freedoms and self-reliance- as parents no longer allow their children to walk home alone or play for extended time without supervision. This has caused parents to be more involved in their children’s transportation, schedules and to create structured supervised play dates.
- College Recruiters – Parents have come to focus more on the college admissions environment, so parents now focus on making sure children have enrichment activities, unique and numerous extracurricular activities. These after school obligations have become a priority for parents and parents have to juggle a more demanding schedule with numerous activities such as band, soccer, music lessons, gymnastics, foreign language classes or academic tutoring in order to increase their appeal to future colleges and so parents now have to manage these schedules.
- Sherpas – While in the past parents relied on natural consequences today we drive soccer gear and lunch boxes to school and call soccer coaches to complain rather than remaining as consultants to our children.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
- Practice Self Compassion – Treat yourself and others with kindness and respect. Cut yourself a break when things fall apart and celebrate when things go well.
- Take Social Media Breaks – Think of it as brain-detox. No more “garbage in”.
- Practice Self Care and Have Daily Rituals to Recharge – Maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. Care for your minds, bodies, and souls by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so enhances our ability to live fully, vibrantly, and effectively.
- Ask for help – relatives, friends and others will help or listen – Set your pride aside and just ask. Family, friends and older children want to help more often than you may think.
- Connect- connecting with other parents reminds us we are not alone.
DO This At Home!
For scripts, tools, advice and actionable exercises on helping children develop social skills, check out Why Will No One Play with Me?
About Caroline Maguire
Caroline Maguire, M. Ed., earned her undergraduate degree at Trinity College and her Masters of Education and Early Childhood Development at Lesley University with a specialization in social emotional learning (SEL).
Caroline is the author of the award winning book, Why Will No One Play With Me?, a playbook of foolproof scripts on how to build social skills.
She created a comprehensive Social Emotional Learning (SEL) training methodology for adults, parents, clinicians and academic professionals. She is the founder and director of The Fundamentals of ADHD Coaching for Families training curriculum at ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA) – the only Coach Training program accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Ms. Maguire is a sought-after lecturer and workshop facilitator on various topics related to social, emotional and behavioral learning. She is a permanent columnist on social skills in CHADD’s Attention Magazine, a favored contributor to U.S. News & World Report, Mind Body Green, Salon, Huffington Post, Today Parenting, ADDitude and WebMD.