You love your kids – they’re very special and have some delightful characteristics. But lately they're getting on your nerves more and more. It’s the constant fighting that’s wearing you down. And the sense of entitlement, coupled with a lack of gratitude. Sammy got pyjamas on Tuesday, as he needed them, but Noah is demanding that he gets some too. He’s all good for PJs but you’re going to buy him some more just to keep the peace.
Getting out the door in the morning is a real grind. The kids drag their feet when you ask them to get ready for school. Getting them to bed is just the same – they ramp it up every night and all you can see is your quiet evening disappearing as you wrangle them into bed for the tenth time.
You love going to work, but half your colleagues don’t have kids themselves and don’t really understand your life. If you turn up late you get ‘the look’, and when you go home you feel you need to constantly stay in touch with work emails.
You feel pulled in every direction. And then there’s your parents quietly suggesting you are doing too much. Oh, and reminding you that they wish they saw more of the grandkids.
As a family coach, I get the privilege of working with parents who are passionate about their kids and work tirelessly to give them a great life. Often, these parents are feeling a bit ‘bruised’ from trying so hard, yet still feeling stuck, unappreciated, guilty or that they’re not enough. The love is there – but it is hard to do the big job of parenting when you feel overwhelmed and stretched.
Another way I describe this is using the ‘bandwidth’ analogy, but not in terms of electronics or car radios with a frustratingly limited range if the vehicle is an import. Rather, the energy or mental capacity available to you to deal with life and all its complexities. In human terms, bandwidth is about how much flex and capacity you have in the emotional tank to manage what might come your way on any given day.