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Whose Problem Is It?

Yesterday was a particularly hard day in parenting for me.

I was tired, I was feeling vulnerable, and I was a bit emotionally raw from a couple challenging weeks.

It left me feeling frustrated, and I know I didn’t show up as the parent I strive to be.

A mother and daughter

As things calmed down last night, I sat down and opened yesterday’s Seattle Times, and read the “Dear Carolyn” column.  Now Carolyn and I don’t always see eye to eye, but yesterday, in responding to a reader’s concerns about bonding with an adopted child, she shared some wisdom from another parent that felt like a gut punch and a relief all at the same time.

It read:

“However you go into parenthood, be ready to answer the question: ‘If this child or relationship isn’t what I want it to be, will I be kind and generous anyhow?’  My sister was adopted and I was biological, and my mother had terrible guilt for not particularly liking my sister, until she had me and didn’t like me either.  She only really learned to love us when we were 5 and 4 respectively.  We never suspected. Mom said, ‘Whatever you don’t love about your child is your problem. Your job is to make sure it’s never their problem.’”

Wow.  Wise words indeed.  Kudos to that mama wherever and whoever she might be.

To be clear, I love my children deeply, but as they go on their own journeys of exploration, there are days when it’s hard to see them make different choices than I might make for them.  It’s hard to see them struggle with thoughts, feelings, and decisions when I know they don’t have the same context and experiences that I do.

And because of that, I don’t love every minute of parenting, nor do I love every tiny thing about my kids.

But that’s my problem.  And my job is to make sure it is never theirs.

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Christy Keating fun headshot

Christy Keating is a certified parent coach,  positive discipline educator, and motivational speaker. She is the founder and CEO of The Heartful Parent Collective, which includes Heartful Parent Coaching, Savvy Parents Safe Kids, and Heartful Parent Academy.

The mother of two amazing daughters, Christy strives to build a happier, healthier world - one child, one parent, and one family at a time.