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Parenting is challenging. Period.

I wish I could just put that down, print it up, stick it on my refrigerator and take a deep breath to relax every single time I felt like things were spinning out of control. But there are days when it seems like everything happens all at once and no amount of yellow post-its on every surface in the house is going to help me.

Someone once told me (almost derisively) that parenting is the one thing we have no course for, no exams to pass and no evaluation/appraisal to monitor our growth. While that smarted at the time, I can’t help but think how true it is to actually experience parenting.

Imagine being flung into the deep end of the ocean with no life raft or instructions on how to swim. How must it feel? Terrifying? Yes, don’t even think otherwise.

I’m not here to scare you, new parents or parents-to-be. God knows I try to look at the positives as much as I balance out the days when I feel like throwing in the towel. It gets progressively harder too, as they grow older. Paradoxically, it grows easier as well.

Easier because you don’t need to worry about diapers, bottle feeds, sleep deprivation, colicky infants or weight gain.

Harder because you have to start worrying about things like peer pressure, missed assignments, coping at school and the defiance that comes with age.

Yelling is counter-productive. I’ve learnt that the brutal way. Add to it the things that you love doing that don’t involve parenting and some days you want to just hit the pause button on all the worries that parenting brings and just delve into the comfort that writing offers. 

That’s why I write. I’m not ashamed of it either.

It’s my best and most relaxing escape from my failures as a parent. It’s my go-to tonic when I feel helpless and at my wits’ end. Yes, I fail as a parent and it’s heartbreaking to admit it.

I fail every time I glare at Gy when she forgets her homework at school.
I fail every time I ask her in a voice, dripping with sarcasm, how she manages to find her way around the school.
I fail every time I stand and stare at her apparent lack of concentration when I am saying something.

Let’s face it. I tend to lecture. Hey, I was a teacher so it comes naturally to me. But whereas a classroom full of young adults come to actually listen to you, a pint-sized mini-you just stands her ground with open defiance not willing to lend you her ear.

That’s beyond frustrating; it’s maddening! 

So, what do we do on the days when parenting seems like the most challenging job in the world? Here are my solutions:

  • Pick up the phone and talk to someone close- your mom, your spouse, a close friend. Don’t hold it in. Talking clears the mind.
  • Go for a walk. Fresh air works wonders on the frayed nerves of a frazzled parent.
  • Stay away from the trigger that causes you to feel like a failure. Re-visit it when you are in a calmer frame of mind.
  • Write it out. You don’t have to blog if that makes you uncomfortable. Write in a diary or type it out on the computer and put it in drafts. Writing is therapeutic and soothes tempers when they are flaring.

The scariest thing of all though? There’s no way I can be sure that any of this will actually work on a given day. There’s no guarantee that my child will love me unconditionally all life through.

There’s absolutely no conclusive formula to determine if I am actually helping her or hindering her progress.   But I try.   

The best I can do is try, despite every cell in my body screaming and telling me otherwise on the days that seem the hardest, I’m determined to try and be the parent I need to be. That’s the most challenging job of all.

Featured & pinnable image courtesy: Shutterstock

Mom exhausted and lying face down on a table holding a feeding bottle and toys strewn around her. Parenting is challenging.
Categories: Parenting

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Rekha Dhyani · December 9, 2015 at 1:16 am

I can so relate to this with a 7yo and an almost 10yo. But as you mentioned, these days I calm myself by moving away from the place and talking to the husband. And finally writing it a down on a piece of paper and tearing it off helps me the most. I guess parenting is the only paper in which I have failed many a times. I hope they forgive me for that and I do not repeat the same mistakes again and again. Big hugs Shailaja, from an equally helpless mother.

Rachna · December 9, 2015 at 2:39 am

I yell and I lecture too. But what to do? There are days when you are drowning. It frustrates when they do it over and over again. Why? And their constant bickering. Sometimes I feel that I will have a nervous breakdown.:( It is a freaking tough job and venting surely helps. Hang in there, Shy. We are human too.

Ls · December 9, 2015 at 4:15 am

All the yelling, lecturing fails once they reach teenage. Then its coaxing, explaining and a lot more. But, we need to keep evolving. Having two kids helped me.

Vishal Kataria · December 9, 2015 at 4:23 am

Brutally honest post, Shailaja. This is just gold!

Jaibala Rao · December 9, 2015 at 4:25 am

I tell myself that I don't lecture and I am just trying to reason with S. But every time everything is just the same again. At his age, I don't even know if I am overdoing it as a parent or no! Exasperation is my middle name these days. And when I am at my wits end, I just take some time off from being a parent even if it seems like I am ignoring S.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 4:35 am

It's really hard too, Rekha. Some days I feel nothing works and those are the days I want to put my fist through a wall. Hugs right back. Knowing we are not alone is the only thing that helps on most days.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 4:36 am

Drowning just about captures it perfectly. I am saved the bickering except of course when she is bickering with me. Sometimes I wonder if I was ever fit to be a parent. I seem to be swimming in this ocean with no clue whatsoever. Other days it's really so gratifying and heartwarming. Venting certainly helps, Rachna. Hence we blog. And yes, we are human. Sigh.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 4:45 am

Already started the coaxing. Yet to stop the lecturing. It's hard. I don't have the luxury of having another kid, so will have to do the best I can with the one 🙂

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 4:47 am

Thank you, Vishal. Much appreciated 🙂

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 4:50 am

I fall into the exact trap as you. Speaking to my husband about it last night helped give me some clarity. He said I am placing a whole lot of expectation on a 9 year old child when it comes to order and organisation. It's stressful enough for her without me adding to it all the time. Poor kid. Need some serious re-evaluation of my own behaviour.

Balaka Basu · December 9, 2015 at 6:27 am

You are a great Mom….we all are going through the same ordeal…we all are at times failing and at times succeeding …lets concentrate on this beautiful journey…once when our kids grow up we will miss these moments…

Nabanita · December 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

I am going to book mark this because I can see myself going through the same. Thanks for this Shailaja..It's going to be a month that little M has come into my life and even now sometimes I feel so stressed and feel guilty at not being there for her 100%..I have actually written down something about it in my diary, will share it maybe putting it out there will give me some peace of mind..

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

That's completely true, Balaka. Most times we feel helpless when we are unsure of what to do. I certainly hope to enjoy these moments for as long as I can.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Little M has the best mom in the world 🙂 You can never give her 100% so first let go of that expectation. It's unfair to her and to yourself. Take your time and put it out there for people to read. If it helps, yes, do share it with us. Hugs Naba 🙂

Parul · December 9, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Parenting is hard. Shaping up an individual must be so much of pressure. I wonder how mothers and fathers do that. Your post is so honest Shailaja. I can see Mums relate to it.

vishal bheeroo · December 9, 2015 at 6:48 pm

It's refreshing to read on the tough job of parenting and how you approach everything with an open mind, not scared to talk about weakness. This is growth, I am sure.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 10, 2015 at 12:02 am

There's a great deal of honesty in today's world, Parul. I am hoping that will continue to exist as Gy grows older and learns to balance the good with the bad.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 10, 2015 at 12:03 am

I certianly hope something good comes out of it. Honesty has helped me with my yelling less challenge although God knows I've slipped many times there too. Here's a hope that this will make me focus more on the reasons and how not to get bogged down by them as time passes.

Anshuman Bansal · December 11, 2015 at 5:39 am
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max den · December 11, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Amazing post.

Maniparna Sengupta Majumder · December 13, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Honestly, parenting is a difficult job and, there is no rule-book for parents as every child is special in her/his own way and different from others. I've learnt a lot along with my child. 🙂

john depp · December 14, 2015 at 6:16 am

Maybe not the most difficult I agree. But have to say sometime the most CHALLENGING!!! I do love the rewards of being a mom to my wonderful children.

SHANAYA TALES · December 14, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Yeah, parenting is by far the most challenging job – ever! I glare and yell all the time, and I feel awful later, but when I am in the moment, there is no stopping it . Every single time I plan on trying harder to keep my calm the next time – some days it works, some days nothing works. We live, we learn, and we do our best and hope for the same.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 22, 2015 at 2:36 am

Thank you!

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 22, 2015 at 2:36 am

Agree. We do seem to learn a lot from our children these days. Wonder if it's a case of evolution.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 22, 2015 at 2:37 am

The rewards definitely outweigh the challenges, I agree. Some days are just too overwhelming, though.

Shailaja Vishwanath · December 22, 2015 at 2:38 am

Oh the glare! I have perfected it. Then again, Gy has also perfected the art of not responding to the glare. So it's time to change tactics 😉

Saim Carter · December 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

Parents are the real teachers in our life and we learn the most from them as they are the person who guide us to behave as essay writers online, to study and to experience in life. They teach us to treat and face problem with courage.

reviewandwriteup · December 29, 2015 at 6:07 am

i am not a parent yet but it was great to read this writeup

Shailaja · November 28, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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