Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Parenting and Spiritual Growth

As a parent I have often felt frazzled and ready to throw in the towel. And when someone goes on about the joys of parenthood, I’ll go ‘blahde-blahde-blah’ inside and tune them out. What do they know, anyway? 

A Motivational Slump...

Thankfully, I’m not alone. Most of us experience the blahs from time to time. No use denying it. Outside the home most parents will put their best foot forward in order to make a success of an outing with the kids. They make an effort to fit in and be with other kids and families for the sake of the children. And, I have to admit, that can sometimes help to get over an occasional motivational slump. However, once at home, and alone with the kids, it is common for many moms and dads to feel like they’re not fit for the task and to dread the simplest of parenting duties. In fact, the sheer volume of duties and details that need attending will at times wear down even the most motivated among us. 

     Isn’t it sad that this most special task, guiding a new person in their development from infant to young adult, is so often marred by negative emotions on our part? This conclusion made me look for a new perspective from which to consider parenting and its endless list of duties and demands.

A New Perspective

Speaking for myself, a new perspective started to dawn when I considered the question: “Who am I doing this for?” Now, that was an eye-opener, when I first took the time to seriously ask and answer it! Who am I clearing the table after for, changing the bed linen for – again – after the umpteenth accident, driving back and forth to soccer practice for, etc. etc. With all these things I stopped myself from being on automatic in order to find an answer that would satisfy my inquiring mind.

     The obvious answer that was right in my face was, of course, the kids. But that simple answer didn’t do justice to the parent-part of me, the new part of my personality that I had gradually come to embrace after the birth of our first child. Clearly, at that moment I had become another person by taking on the role of a parent. I knew that, from my perspective, parenthood had opened up a new field of personal growth. 

     It should not have come as a surprise to me that the areas where I felt challenged in my role as a parent had to do with such things as developing patience and tolerance, remembering to stay peaceful and centered in the middle of mayhem and, last but not least, learning to love unconditionally. I did okay when it came to doing stuff, organizing, planning, and anticipating - in short: the physical and mental parts of my new role. The new learning objectives, I discovered, were of a spiritual nature: patience, peace, love, and the list went on.

Access to Energy

Once this new perspective gained acceptance in my mind, I found I had access to a new source of energy with which to tackle recurring tasks, problems, toils and chores. I discovered that I had access to my own spiritual well-being in and through the demands parenthood had put on me.

     How interesting, if not outright fortunate, that both parties, my kids and I myself, benefitted equally by each and every effort I made to be patient and tolerant, to remain peaceful and centered, and to call on love at difficult times. The answer to the question “Who am I doing this for?” clearly had two answers: the kids and me! 

Parenthood Is a Spiritual Opportunity

Ever since that day parenthood has been an opportunity to apply what I know to be true spiritually. My children’s needs have stopped impinging on my own. Their needs have turned into calls to turn within and consult my inner wisdom right at the moment I need it most.

To read more about the spiritual side of parenting, I can recommend the following articles on this blog: Mindful ParentingHow to Counter Negative Thinking, and Parents and Meditation.

Images courtesy of photostock at

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