ASK AND ACCEPT HELP

Call for help to reclaim joy of parenthood hood because focus and full attention shifts imperatively from the couple to the new infant at the centre of the family. This means guests are calling, family and friends visiting with presents, church leaders, loved ones, friends, colleagues, etc. Within these few days the family endures stress of sleepless nights despite pressure to go to work regardless. Soon, heaps of laundry pile up unwashed laundry not ironed, the house no longer pristine like a show room, home not cleaned, food not made properly any more. With constant crying of the baby or babies, and siblings tagging at parents skirts and trousers for affection, hugs, nappy changes, meals and playing with them. The home becomes so chaotic to see the little ones running riot as the parents blame and resent each other for incompetence and inefficiency. The couple let themselves get into rows due to the tensions and the sometimes the overwhelmed mother lets her looks and shape slide down hill. This is because the last on her mind is her appearance. When this happens she may be busy feeding baby on call as baby demands and expressing milk for help in the night to get a few hours sleep. The woman’s delightful looks may go out the window as she is barely able to contain milk flow soaking constantly her garments. Join a mother’s or father’s toddler group when a new baby is born.Marriage changes a woman’s career and she ends up with children more of as extra baggage so has more to lose. Therefore there is no need to rush into marriage as women now live longer so prepare for the future first by establishing a career. Life is not a competition even if all your mates already have children and you feel left out. Many secretly wish they could undo their lives and do things better. So the couple may be in shock with regard to the intense hectic demands they find themselves in. Seemingly controlled by small children now wonder how to make the marriage or the family last. Even at the worst times remember there are people who cannot have children and see how blessed one is to have children. At each stage, even though there are many challenges, remind yourselves that children are blessings from God. Family life is a dynamic journey of one great big adventure so embrace with thankfulness to God. The pressure continues to mount if they do not recognise need to call for help without guilty feelings of failure. The couple cannot live as if still single before having children. Life changes drastically with child care, cooking, cleaning, laundry not solely woman’s job. Single life partying is over without friends or work colleagues to talk to at home all day long with infant totally dependent on you.No more addiction to interactive computer games competitions on-line. You cannot expect the child to conform to your previous  single lifestyle. By saying I do, it means adiós to selfishness, sacrifice and taking on extra responsibility for their lives. You do not have a child to make you happy because your life in unfilled. Real hands on child raising is intense responsibility to provide for yourself and your family. Transitions into a father or mother coupled with hormones imbalances affects mood swings. So do not expect to recover after birth as if you are still the single childless person you use to be. Do frustrate yourself for inability to keep on top of life as before having children. Having family brings drastic physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, career changes affecting the couple. Things get worse with underlying financial issues so both parents may suffer paternal and maternal post partum depression affecting the children’s development and marital relationship. Some new mothers are suffering in silence from postnatal depression with many not speaking up for fear of having their children taken away. A responsible single man maintains own home and does chores before marriage yet works full – time. Therefore, it is not exclusive job of his wife to be expected to take over looking after the husband. Even if his mother perhaps left of nannying him as an adult son, grown man encouraged totally to be dependent on mother. He is now a father with dependent children needing his input so cannot think marriage is all about his needs only.He must understand the true meaning of love to give and receive in the relationship. In addition, an emotional man expects the woman to fulfil all his needs, care alone for his children, run the home perfectly and ensure the home remains a show room 24/7. The children are not allowed to feel at home to enjoy the treated as property to remain in perfect condition in case of selling it. So life in the home is constantly like walking on egg shells. One has to thread carefully not to cause him to explode. In such tense atmosphere the man is permanently angry, hard to please, perhaps abuses wife and children physically. If so, do not be wrapped in red tape getting caught up in a problem or trouble needing rescue refusing to be freed from tangled mess.On the other hand, despite having children some immature women demand that constantly remain the centre of attention. Therefore they expect the husband to run after them 24/7 and be thankful they agreed to settle down with him. So demand gratitude and appreciation for marrying such a person like herself. She expects to remain queen as the centre of the universe in the relationship insisting the man does all the chores while she is always on the phone, face book, twitter, on-line talking to her friends and followers or shopping on-line.

Although, she may or not work, she lives as if she is still single, seeking to remain independent and requiring man to take on jobs she feels beneath her status. The man unaware endorses such abusive patterns of trophy wife behaviour, carries on dutifully to the annoyance of friends and family. He does all the shopping, cleaning, cooking, caring for children and works full-time. His greatest fear is asking for support or submission from her means divorce. So husband soldiers doggedly for the sake of his children. She talks to him anyhow worse than she would talk to even their children. She is possessive of him so deprives him of friends and family because without him she claims she cannot function. She runs down family budget on expensive make up, beauty products, designer clothes, luxury bags and shoes but the rent, mortgage, family needs are not first met. She lives in own bubble and strongly believes she is perfect so no one dare challenge her. Despite luxurious surroundings, life is chaotic and nobody in the premises seems happy. To the outside world and the church they are the perfect couple, yet underneath lurks pain and hurts. Eventually, the family calls for help with regard to redressing issues.

After observing each person’s role in the home, the picture becomes clearer. Then the process begins to work together to resolve underlying issues. A couple’s personalities, backgrounds, attitudes to life, perceived roles of men and women in marriage surface in therapy sessions. As a family unit, one has to recreate new hybrid version of what is best for family. Whatever may have worked in the past in your own childhood may not always be best for your adult home or new family. Compromise is necessary and essential because verbal communication accounts for only 10% of life. This means, things said or promised verbally is not enough to consolidate relationship to run family effectively. Call for help to understand marriage commitment, impact of raising children on love feelings, intimacy, personal interests, romance, overcoming hardships together, enduring difficulties, sacrifices. Children need therefore merely buying expensive toys alone will not do the job. Children need stimulation and interaction from birth throughout childhood. Shoving them in front of TV, computer games, will not solve problem. Instead they will experience stunted emotional growth in a bubble. Life is better when children learn from early years from parent’s practical life skills. Children kept for hours alone in bedrooms with gadgets lack social skills. So it important to invest precious time into upbringing to talk to the children play with them, roll on the floor with them, play football, handball, tennis, basketball, music or write songs with them. Activities must not focus on perfection to follow a particular style, just enjoy family times. The best form of communication is not through 10% words but 90% actions of love is doing little things that does not cost money. Giving consistently affection, love, hugs, smiles, appreciation, gratitude, respect, unique card made by you, encouraging supportive good attitude, cooking, caring for each other and children, cleaning home, garbage, constitute real true love.

The ultimate goal is to bond with them early in positive playful but firm manner. Having children does not mean the end of a parent’s world. Children enrich your lives by giving love unconditionally to draw the best out of you to be more patient, tolerant, forgiving, kind and generous. Do not be selfish and so treat them as a nuisance that robs your personal freedom and personal life. Remember you chose to marry, to have children or engage in acts that result naturally in children according to God’s plan. So do not blame, accuse or punish them for ruining your life. Do not resent them for turning your world upside down because you did it to yourself.  The good news is children grow up faster than you expect. Sooner than later they leave you as stewards entrusted by God for a season. You can always reconstruct your life in a new dimension because life is dynamic. It is never too late to learn, train, do new things, achieve personal goals put on hold for your children’s sake. Do not be jealous, vengeful, bitter, resentful of innocent joy and laughter of your children.  Do not be ashamed to get help if you feel too stressed, sad, isolated, harbouring dark thoughts, about to cross dangerous lines of hurting your children to ‘solve’ family problems. Do not let pride, ego, anger damage relationship to destroy yourself and family. Asking for help is the right thing to do to save lives so it is not weakness. You face consequences for life if deprived children of loving parents. Above all, you are accountable to God for His children entrusted to you to love and treat well.

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