Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Myths Of Parenthood #1: Everyone Else Is Coping

Karen wrote a really helpful post the other day, here's a bit of it..

I don't think we as mothers do ourselves any favours here. I think that many of us work hard to cultivate the image that we are going fine, that we are managing everything very well and that life is just rosy, thanks very much for asking. I am highly guilty of this. It perpetuates the myth that everyone's coping and it means we are not being honest about what we are actually going through.
Read the rest of it here. It would be great if there was a lot more talk like this in Christian circles among parents.

16 comments:

Hanny said...

It's important to realize that we're all human and we all make mistakes and have difficulties at times, and it's also a great learning experience to fall flat on your face every now and again.

Did you ever learn what a griddle was?

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Hanny. True words.

ps- No, I never did. It keeps me awake at night.

Pedro said...

Benno. Why does the discussion have to be in Christian circles amongst parents??

Why can't we all discuss these feelings? EVERYBODY, christian or not has the same experiences.

Or are you inferring that Christian parents put on the charade moreso than the others in the parenting world?

Its interesting how christians are quite concerned about how their lives are perceived...
Discuss. (if you like)

Ben McLaughlin said...

Pedro- Okay, interesting point.

I specified Christian circles because a lot of my conversations about parenting etc is with other Christians. That's just a fact. not all, but most.

And as this is an issue I've noticed in those circles, that's why I was specific. I'm sure it's an issue in other circles, but I wanted to focus in.

I also think we are ALL very concerned about how our lives are perceived, Christians or not.

Pedro said...

"I'm sure it's an issue in other circles, but I wanted to focus in."

Perhaps this should be a christians only blog then?

I would probably be lumped into the group titled "OTHER" circles so I will refrain from commenting in the future unless it is addressed in the post to christians and 'OTHERS'...













I won't refrain but wanted to make a point.
But you knew that anyway.

Belle said...

Pedro, you're right, this applies to all parents, regardless of religion. Our culture too often puts forward an unrealistic picture of parenthood; we *all* need to be more open about what it really looks like.

Ben McLaughlin said...

I still don't really get the point, I'm afraid.

I re-read my post, and my comment, and couldn't really see how it could have been offensive, mate.

Pedro said...

Wasn't offensive at all brother.
And yes, Belle, that is the point.

I was only making an issue of your specifying a certain group in the discussion. Thats all.
I just find myself jumping at the chance to point out when I feel people are being sectarian (in my opinion at least) regarding matters that are so all encompassing.

Groups do it. Pollies, activists, fundamentalists all seem to do the same thing. Polarizing listeners / readers in the process.

Thats all. Just feels a little like prejudice or to be dramatic about it, condascending.
I'm sure you didn't mean it that way mate.
Its just me.

Deb L said...

I think I know what you mean, Ben. In Christian circles there can be something like: if we are good Christians, we won't find family life difficult. And, if we do find it tough, then maybe it's not just family life that's hard, but there's something wrong with our faith. Now, I'm sure there are lots of variations on the "I might not be good enough if I'm not coping" theme that aren't specific to Christians. You could just as well find yourself saying something like: if I'm a good person who cares about children, I shouldn't find them so hard to live with. Or: if I was a great mother/father, I wouldn't be pulling my hair out at 4.30 every afternoon. So, yeah, that angst is not exclusive to a particular group.

But, Christians do worry sometimes about being up front about struggling with family life because they fear judgment from others, especially other Christians. I don't think that's because we put on more of a charade than anyone else - we are just as guilty of that as the next bloke. But I think that Christians should be especially proactive in NOT covering up and pretending we have it all together. Because, at the heart of who we say we are, is the idea that we all stuffed up magnificently and were amazingly saved by God's generosity. There's no way I'm good enough. Ever. But I trust in someone who is way, way better and more generous than me. And so I have no excuse for playing "I've got it altogether" and every reason for showing life as it is and pointing to Jesus as my answer.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Pedro- Thanks, I appreciate you clarifying. I certainly wasn't meaning to be prejudiced or condescending. If anything I was trying to do the opposite-- trying to push Christians, myself included, to step up more. Any exclusion was more about not judging those who arent Christians.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Deb- really appreciated your comment. That second paragraph is gold, especially-

Because, at the heart of who we say we are, is the idea that we all stuffed up magnificently and were amazingly saved by God's generosity. There's no way I'm good enough. Ever. But I trust in someone who is way, way better and more generous than me. And so I have no excuse for playing "I've got it altogether" and every reason for showing life as it is and pointing to Jesus as my answer.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Another thing I'd add is church life is set up for a lot of , often threatening, 'caring and sharing', which can hilight when we are putting on a front.

Prime example of this is bible study. Tonight I'll be sitting in a circle with several other fathers, and innevitably conversation turns to where we are at at home, shortcomings as fathers and husbands. I appreciate that certainly, but do I like it? Not really. I'd rather keep it to myself.

I guess my point is, maybe Christians put themselves in these kinds of situations more, where there is that definite, regular situation of either having to answer honestly, or else to gloss over what's really going on.

Karen said...

Wow. Thanks for linking to my post. I love how blogging generates discussion.

I spent sleepless hours last night trying to think of a response to this but now I'm very tired, and, you guessed it, have got nothing.

But everyone else seems to have said what I thought anyway.

@Pedro, when I posted, it wasn't in relation to Christians specifically. I think I lean towards pretending all is okay even with others (work colleagues, non-Christian friends or whoever). But I think Ben and Deb's points about there being perhaps a bit more tension involved in it for Christians has an element of truth to it as well.

I am certainly much better than I used to be at telling it more like it really is though. Having lots of kids cures you of too much pretence. Usually if they're around, one or other of them is mucking up in some way so it gets a lot harder to cover it up :)

Karen said...

And Deb, I know I've said this before, but I really think you should start a blog! I didn't think my original post on this was that great, I kept thinking it needed editing somehow but I ended up not having time to do it so it just sat there.
What you said was probably what I wanted to say but said so much better!

Ben McLaughlin said...

Karen-thanks for the comment. Sorry you had trouble slleeping. What you said in the original post was plenty. And as you say, the specifics about Christian circles, you didn't say that, I dug that big ol' hole for myself!

Deb- I'm with Karen on this one. Your comments should be posts themselves, not buried down in someone elses' comment thread. I was trying to work out a way to con you into posting a weekly guest column.. how great would that be! But I couldn't work out a good enough incentive to lure you!

Deb L said...

Ben & Karen you are kind to say so! But if you knew how often my big old mouth gets my own foot inserted into it, you'd not wish a blog written by me sent out into cyberspace. Besides, I think the consensus in my family is that I spend too much time on the net as it is. Plus, I can't spell.