Parenting can be daunting at times: 'Are we up for the job?'

YOU CAN DO IT: People have been raising children for thousands of years, through many challenges so you can do it too.
YOU CAN DO IT: People have been raising children for thousands of years, through many challenges so you can do it too.

Regardless of when you start your family, becoming a new parent can be fraught with mixed emotions.

There is the excitement of becoming a family and watching your children grow.

But the fear of the responsibility of protecting that child can be overwhelming.

My first child was born in the early 90s. We were in the midst of the 'recession we had to have', unemployment was soaring towards a frightening high of 10.9 per cent by 1993 and interest rates for a home loan were considered good if you could secure a rate under 16 per cent.

Despite all the daunting facts I was excited to head home from the hospital with my husband and my newborn.

That was of course until I stepped into the lift at the hospital following my discharge.

A rush of fear came over me and I burst into tears.

My husband looked suitably surprised and asked what was wrong?

I responded with something along the lines of ...

"Well you're big enough to look after yourself, I'm big enough to look after myself, but we are now both totally responsible for looking after this little one every minute of every day and every night. Are we up for the job?"

The circumstances at the time had no doubt impacted my emotions, knowing that we were living in economically precarious times was a concern.

I had a similar momentary melt down following the news of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the New York Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington in 2001.

At that time I had two young children at school and a nine-month-old baby. I can remember looking at my baby and thinking what kind of world have we brought you into.

In both situations I had to remind myself that there will be highs and lows in life - both help shape us.

The job as a parent is to help children navigate both in the best possible way.

My parents where born at the end of World War II, my grand parents were born during World War I and lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic.

That must have been a daunting prospect for new parents at those times, but they worked through it and managed to raise generations of functioning adults.

These days my children are part of the generation facing the daunting prospect of starting families in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic repercussions.

I know of new parents who have limited visitors and requested people update immunisation for other illnesses such as whooping cough before they are permitted to visit or nurse the newborn.

It's a huge change to what happened when my children were born.

Back then I felt like there was a revolving door of visitors.

It was great to have the company, but in retrospect I can see I could have benefited from a more controlled situation.

In all honesty I think I enjoyed the company while I fumbled through trying to find some level of confidence in my role as a new mum.

Those visitors also reminded me that the world was still ticking along as normal outside my front door.

Of course there were also the occasions when I really needed that alone time with the baby to prove to myself that I could do it without anyone helping me.

The good news is that I could do it. I did do it.

I also realised that while situations could be overwhelming at times, I had to take on each test with a calm and practical head and remind myself that people had been raising children for thousands of years, through many challenges.

They had survived, I survived and I know the parents of this generation and their children will make it through too.

  • Mother-of-three grown kids, ACM editor Mumma Jak is familiar with the variety of approaches needed to help raise well-rounded humans.