Today, a kind woman told me that I need to practice ‘enough parenting.’ For my own sanity. The quizzed expression on my face gave me away and she quickly explained. But before I share that, here is what led to that phrase.
Our year has not been easy. Raising a teen is not easy. Raising a headstrong and fiercely protective child is even more interesting. Now imagine it all coming together in one short span of time, while dealing with your own stress issues around health, home, family and work.
This woman shared her expert perspectives on how adults and young people see time and needs differently, how men and women respond to stress and parenting differently, and how women, typically hardwired for nurturing – struggle when it comes to knowing how much is enough.
Conditioned by society – women are often the first to judge themselves on their abilities to be available, to fit the role, to be accessible, to be the pillar of comfort and strength for their children, to be the nurturer, the provider of all forms of structure. It never matters if their input is matched by family or spouse.
She explained how parents find themselves in a demand and supply cycle. As responsibilities rise, parents supply their energies and in fulfilling one demand - make space for new demands. But of the two parents, mothers, women, take on much more than their male counterparts. And women need to learn that they need to be ‘enough parents.’
As I returned to my car, I saw two older adults trying to park in the handicap spot. They were easily in their early 80’s, frail but smiling. The man had pulled in the car the best he could. The woman, stepped out, looked at the amount of space on either side and insisted the man park better, so that someone else could park in the spot next to them. The old man snickered, and obliged.
I smiled, the man decided to take as much space as he needed, leaving room for his wife on the other side to alight with ease, while the woman ignored her own comfort and wanted to make room for someone else. This, even though they had a designated handicap spot, and they were well within their rights to park however they wanted.
As I drove home, I reflected on the expert advice I had just received. Depending on the scenario, the phrase could be ‘‘Enough’ parenting’, ‘Enough. Parenting.’ or ‘enough parenting.’
The beauty of the two words is in their individual strengths, and in their individual vulnerabilities –
The beauty of the two words comes from recognizing limitations and knowing when to let go.
Their pairing recognizes power.
Their enunciation and punctuation allows a shift of focus, and weight the power to move as needed.
The two words are in tandem but independent.
They are synchronized when needed.
They are separate when needed.
Nothing is absolute.
What a simple phrase. What a simple trick for a complicated life!
So, I hope to practice some of this enough parenting. I came home and fixed myself a steaming cup of ‘enough’, an energy boosting masala milk I don’t drink enough of. The masala sits in my refrigerator, waiting to be needed. Rather than going nuts, I was going to eat some nuts. And today this was enough.
Do you practice enough parenting? Share your parenting notes in the comments.
And if you are looking for the recipe of this masala milk, it is on page 155 of ‘Crack the Code’.