Saturday 20 January 2018

Parenting is all about doubt, but it's still all worth it

It's best to think of our mistakes as future anecdotes, says Aine O'Connor, and not beat ourselves up

Aine O'Connor

THERE is nothing more undermining than parenting. Nothing can make you feel quite as stupid and ill-prepared, bring you so near despair, cause as much frustration, self-doubt and fear -- nay, terror -- as parenting. Parenting when it seems to be going wrong.

Parents who brandish their children as some kind of marvellous personal achievement, who peddle a smug version of the world they have created, are really annoying but still preferable to the ones who wield their children as some awful burden, casting themselves as martyrs -- for them, a short, sharp kick in the shins. But these lads are rare, most of us muddle along doing the best we can.

Like most, I try hard to be a good parent, proving better in some areas than others. I struggle with things such as enforcing study and music practice, following up on things, keeping up routines -- and I don't like the discipline part. I do provide regular and reasonably nutritious meals, though when I have a visiting child haunting the kitchen looking famished at 7.30 I realise the timetable could be more regular.

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