MY STRUGGLE AS A PARENT
Before I start this post I would like to alert you that it is going to be centered on humour because over the years I have discovered that humour is one of my recipes and it helps me retain my sanity when things are getting out of hand. Secondly, I would love to make a disclaimer, do not believe that the person writing this is a professional parenting expert. As a matter of fact, a part of me is still arguing with the other part of me about what I’m going to be sharing with you. (There are actually 2 sides to my parenting. The one that scolds my kids when they stray and the one that sits on the floor with them to watch cartoons all day.)
I have been a mother for 13 years now and I will be very honest with you it has been a memorable, amazing, educative, insightful, and stressful experience for me. I would not deny the fact that I have been in positions where I did not know what to do, as in I was both helpless and hopeless about a particular issue because truth be told nobody gives you a proper orientation of what to expect. They just have expectations of you as a parent. Some of these expectations are unrealizable but then it finally dawns on you after you are already stuck in the parenting triangle.
So when I had my first child I didn’t even know my left from my right, I struggled with understanding myself, and then there was a human being that I was supposed to take care of. I didn’t know exactly how to go about it but I think I had a little more advantage than some other mothers. After the delivery of my daughter, I was staying with my mum because my husband was out of town.
Literally, I started raising my daughter in my family house with my parents and my siblings so it wasn’t as challenging as it would have been for a young mother of 24 to be alone with a child. I had the opportunity of being spoon-fed by my mother when I started my parenting. That was when she began to share ideas and tips of how to take care of a baby; when the baby needs to eat, sleep, or is uncomfortable either due to the weather or the clothing the baby has on.
If not for the help I got from my mum I would have been marooned because I was oblivious of everything that had to do with nurturing and raising a child. But as time went on I began to get a grip of things and grasp what I was expected to do as a mother. It helped that I had an open mind and because my daughter and I had spent some time with an extended family we didn’t have so much difficulty getting to understand ourselves. I have always wanted to raise my children in a godly way for them to be responsible members of the society which has not been easy especially with the decaying society that we live in presently so with research and learning in addition to experience, I realized that there was a need for the communication channel between my daughter and me to be constantly open.
During my growing up days, we didn’t have the opportunity of discussing everything with our parents we just take whatever information we are given without questioning authority and believing it hook line sinker. There was no opportunity to rub minds with them or discuss certain issues but as I began to study and do some research on parenting I realized that it is very important for children of this dispensation, that is the digital natives, to have responsive parents who are available to listen to them, accept their point of views and advise them accordingly and not necessarily forcing them to do things. There are ways that you could convince or persuade them to do things the way you want them to.
I took it upon myself to make myself always available for her whenever she wanted to talk or ask any question because trust me if a child is not asking questions, something is wrong somewhere. I remember the first day my daughter asked me the meaning of ejaculation, I was in shock. I didn’t get myself for a long time because the person asking me this question was just five years plus so how on Earth did she get to know about that word? Well, I had to brace myself and come up with a suitable explanation.
And with a little more probing I discovered that she had seen that word written on a sticker inside one of the buses that we boarded. You cannot imagine the relief I felt with the realization that she had not yet been exposed to anything contrary to what I had taught her. I later observed that she had been practising how to spell and read so she was sounding, spelling, and reading every word she came across and that was how she picked up that word.
It would not be wrong to say that the journey of parenting is similar to marriage because it has a beginning but doesn’t have an end because once you have a child, as long as your child is alive you remain a parent and you keep doing everything you can to ensure that your child has the best in life and that even when the child becomes an adult that everything works out fine for them. In the long run, when your child has a child you become a grandparent and of course, you cannot stop being a parent.
So you keep transferring the knowledge and experiences that you have gathered over the years while adding whatsoever new information you come across that will be beneficial to your children. Two remarkable things that have helped my parenting are my mum’s support and the training I received on Early childhood education.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am not a professional on this job. Permit me to say that I am still a rookie and we keep learning every day how to be better parents to our kids and all the children around us, in our environment, and the society at large. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
© Onyinye Udeh
About Onyinye Udeh
Onyinye Udeh aka Tory Teller is a professional journalist, writer, blogger, Early Childhood educationist, and business consultant with well over a decade of experience in the media, telecommunications, insurance, education, and publishing.
She runs a personal blog, Tory Teller’s Blog where she shares lessons from her life’s experiences with her readers and counsels them about life’s choices as regards relationships, dating, marriage, and parenting.
She is passionate about young people and actively supports, inspires, and mentors them to be better members of the society.
Married to her University sweetheart, for over 13 years, they are blessed with two children, a girl and a boy.
Connect with Onyinye Udeh: www.torytellersblog.com