Today in the spirit of Valentines Day this past Sunday, I want to talk about love. But, instead of talking about relationships, romantic love, or universal love in the sense of social justice, I want to talk about self-love. Specifically, giving yourself a break.
Parenting is hard work. Anyone who thinks otherwise has never met a child. Every day there seems to be a battle about something that erupts – from putting on socks to naps to just needing attention all day and you can’t seem to get anything else done. Tears are shed by the child, and more frequently than we want to admit, tears are shed by the parents as well.
It’s way too easy to think that everyone else is having an easy time parenting. We see on social media cute stories about someone else’s kids and think, “gosh, are they parent of the year? What’s wrong with ME?” People typically only post the positives on social media, and that makes us assume everything is always rosy in their households. They don’t often post about the great sock battle of Monday morning. So we start to compare ourselves to a false positive image that everyone portrays, and that makes us think even worse about ourselves.
Take some time to love yourself this week. Don’t be so hard on yourself this week. Parenting is hard, hard work, and it will likely be the hardest (and maybe the most rewarding) thing you ever do. Everyone struggles at times being a parent, and often we like to hide these struggles from everyone else.
I want our Religious Education program to be a place where we also help you through the struggles of parenthood, not just the joys of it. One way we can help each other through the struggles is simply being there for each other, to listen to each other vent about parenthood, even to offer each other playdates where one parent can go escape to starbucks for an hour or two to relax, take a break, and read some novel-we-would-never-admit-we-actually-want-to-read.
It’s all about community. There’s a common saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and I really do believe this. It also takes a community to save a parent’s sanity.
One of the ways we can build a community of like minded parents, all struggling to raise their children according to a vague sense of shared values, is through a religious organization, like the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. And one of the ways we can build community within our Religious Education program is through things like our Parents Social Hour – which will be the last Sunday in February the 28th, 10;30-11:30. We’ll watch your kids, and you enjoy some coffee time with other parents
And later this year, we’re going to have a couple of Parents Night Out – where as a fundraiser the Jr and Sr High classes will have some activities for kids, and you can drop them off and have date night, or sit-and-watch-netflix-uninterrupted night.
But that’s not enough – and I want to hear from you. What do you need as a parent in terms of community? What do you as a parent hope for from our religious education program, not just for your kids, but for you as a parent as well? Reply back and let me know!