Don’t do it. Don’t ever write a book on parenting when you are in the thick of it yourself. I repeat, do not do it! Unless, of course, you feel like this heavy weight on your shoulders that must be cast off and the only way to do that is through words on paper. Only then will you get some relief from this burden. Well, that’s my excuse.
There are several reasons why you should not write about parenting when your kids are still young. For one, you don’t have a ton of experience to share with people who are in the middle of this long, arduous journey. Sure, in my case, I have 13 years. And that may be a few more years than some of you. I also have a graduate degree in social work and a counseling license. But it is nothing compared to the thirteen more years I’ll have when my youngest reaches junior year of college. That is, if he is, indeed, going to college. Who really knows? So, I cannot really say, look at me. I’ve been there, done that, and have mapped out the all the possible routes for you, and laid out all the red flags and must-visit sites.
Secondly, you don’t want to write a parenting book because you will learn much more than you had anticipated. When you think that you have something worthy to share with others, that somehow, you might be able to encourage or bless them in some small way, and yet you end up feeling like the one who’s gained the most. And I don’t mean the most accolades or reward or credit. That would be nice. I mean the most learning through humbling, even sometimes humiliating lessons. But they are all necessary to toughen you up for the road ahead, or to be a blessing to others.
Thirdly, you will be tried to the core. Everything that has worked for you in the past will no longer work. Your wonderful, well mannered, intelligent, loving kids will begin flailing like you’ve never seen before. Your insights and judgment will be tested and shaken up. Your parenting skills will be practiced to no avail. All this for the purpose of writing a book that is true to life. A book that speaks not of any great parenting strategy or approach, but one that leaves others wondering, pondering, questioning, and perhaps, if you are good, it will leave parents encouraged and hopeful.
Well, I had a few trying days this summer as my book is nearing publication. I will not write about all the gory details here, but just imagine for a moment what’s behind this sweet note that I recently received from my eight year old son. He really is a precious boy, as are his two older brothers. But, this week, when you walk around feeling envious of other moms and dads, other family situations, or beautiful, smiling kids, just remember that for every silver lining you see, there is a cloud in the background. But, don’t worry about these ominous, ugly clouds. Because when you are not defined by them, you will see that these hazy shades are the stuff that make parenting meaningful, even fulfilling.
What do you do that feels like a double-edged sword at times? Maybe you were called to do it? Maybe, many of us have benefitted from your craft and we’ve failed to tell you. So many of us complain more than express our appreciation. I’ve been blessed by all the creative, artistic flair of our diverse human community. What is raging in your heart and mind waiting to be imprinted on paper? Or on canvas, sheet, fabric, metal, wood, etc…?