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Twenty nine year old Dakota Culkin was struck by a car in the west side of Los Angeles on Tuesday. Former Home Schooling Mom of a high-flying College kid, enjoying being a single Mom and online FreeBee Queen. Every Tuesday night for eight weeks we learnt about the benefits of positive reinforcement and praise for boosting children’s self-esteem, the importance of showing empathy and not always trying to fix their problems and, crucially for us, gained a unique perspective on sibling rivalry. Living in a world saturated with squeaky-clean images of perfect parents with perfect children on social media, it was refreshing to see parenting for what it really was: a constant uphill struggle.
We called up a recommended child sleep expert, receiving much-needed counselling in three sessions over the phone. Phillip and I agreed to take each night in turn, neither of us having the strength or the heart to take on the challenge single-handedly.  We tried it for a week, hands clamped over our ears, our faces contorted in pain as our wilful daughter screamed her dismay at this change in her bedtime routine – until she fell ill with a cold and we gave up. What it does is make you more mindful as a parent and gives you helpful tools that you can use as and when you need them.

We are made to feel that parenting should be instinctive and if it doesn’t all come naturally then we have failed.  But if we’re honest- apart from the primal need to feed, clothe and keep our children safe – little about parenting really is all that instinctive. His anxieties seemed to come out of nowhere and yet they were making him deeply upset and stressed.  While my instinct may have been to quickly soothe and dismiss his fears, Rosalie has taught us to let him express them by asking him questions so he can think them through and decide how to tackle them himself. Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. And is it really better to spend hours attempting to fix a blocked sink and risk flooding the house instead of calling in a plumber? Hearing other couples talk about their issues with their children reassured us that we weren’t the worst parents in the world, nor were our children’s issues particularly abnormal.
Why are we all just prepared to put up with this?  I don’t think people realize that help is out there and there’s not many of us who don’t need it.  Being a parent is, without doubt, the single hardest and most important job we will ever do. We play with blocks, the kids happily eat their dinner, and we finish the day with a sunset saunter to the park.

The ones where I collapse into bed, exhausted from another day among many of diaper changes, PB&Js, and backseat fights, all while trying to complete a sentence with my husband.
Along with books, I so appreciate quotes about parenting (and life in general) from wiser people, because they give me a quick battery recharge during my quotidian tasks of running a family. Taking a deep, calm breath, I tenderly stroke his forehead and ask my scared 5 year-old what he would do if a burglar broke in.  ‘I’d punch him in the tummy hard,’ he says.

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