Perfect Childhoods Are Unreasonable

What are your memories as a child? Do you get warm and nostalgic over holidays past or are you filled with anger or even deep seeded resentment?

There isn’t a book around that can completely prepare you for parenting. Babies are ushered into the world under the guise of protection and unconditional love. Completely at the mercy of the caregiver for their every need and the vulnerability of this time is unprecedented.

Children are the ultimate wonder the life. They are beautiful creatures of creation. Naturally luminous in love: growing, learning and pushing the limits to their next step. When getting ready to create worlds for our children, we often project idyllic views on how their childhoods should be. Hopefully they are better than our own. Maintaining this utopia means that we have mastered the stressors of work, relationships, finances and occasional dodge balls that life throws at our feet. Sigh

Eighteen years is a ridiculously short time to raise a person. For all intensive purposes, it’s unrealistic. Everyone who has surpassed early adulthood can say with authority that an eighteen year old is probably the most clueless person on the planet. We were hormonal, generally arrogant, and ready to run out into the world with our pants metaphorically down.

By the time we get to our first therapy session, fifteen (or less) years later, we are desperately trying to unpack why we are who we are. Looking for answers for our failures, miscommunications and emotions. As we have all seen on TV with highly experienced psychotherapists; he or she will slide back into their chair and find a soothing voice to ask the dreaded, ‘tell me about your childhood’, question.

We will spend time combing over every desire, promise or incident to find the answers and surely they will be there. Fault will most likely be assigned to that of a mom, dad, or relative because someone needs to be found responsible. As children we always see adults as beaming with superpowers and holding keys to a world we can’t yet understand. But a parent is just a person; a human experiencing life as it is thrown at them.

Most are trying hard to be the best they can be everyday. Being a parent is the hardest job that anyone will have. Nothing highlights your capabilities faster than mitigating the irrational cries of an angry two year old who can no longer draw all over the walls in sky blue crayon.

Suffice it to say that if you had clothes on your back, a roof to sleep under and a semblance of love in your house, you were ahead of the curve. That doesn’t take away from those who experienced undo cruelty or hardship as a direct result of a parents actions. Also, incidents out of the control of the caregiver can completely change the landscape of the child’s life have and have an equal effect on everyone.

Families have their issues because they are impossible to avoid. There are a host of variables present in every situation that drive the actions and emotions behind them. Parenting requires ridiculous amounts of compartmentalization to not transfer the weight of your world on your children. Parents doing well at this aspect deserve more credit. Those who don’t cope well just need more help. More often than not, we are our parents. Children are raised based on the childhood of the person who is raising them. It’s a cycle that continues for better or for worse. There isn’t a family in America that acts like they are on the set of Full House, because reality exists.

When exploring the depths of the past it is important to remember that people are just that — people. We can either learn and grow or stay stubborn and stagnant. Childhoods contain the blueprint of our futures, but we hold the keys to our endings as adults.

This post originally appeared on Medium.