The perfect storm
The perfect storm
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Half of Cape Town decided to take a trip to the beach on the weekend. Not the people, but the mountains themselves. Huge mudslides from subsided hills caused roads to be closed and traffic to be rerouted. Floods caused havoc. In true Cape storm fashion, everything was insane for a day or two, and then the sun crept through the clouds again. Yes; just like parenting.

I know the Cape doesn’t hold the monopoly on storms. Last week my social media timelines were full of people showing pictures of hail in Gauteng. Hail is like those tough parenting moments that leave you feel battered and dented. A bit like when you have to take your child to the ER after his temperature suddenly spikes. Just like hail damage, you’ll be checking your insurance to see if there’s enough cover.

Rain is more like school stress: You all know that plants need rain, but when it can feel like too much sometimes; you forget what it is to live in anything but the pressure of helping your child get through exams. Kids and parents have to endure it until it’s over. The silver lining of holidays seems like a cruel joke designed to taunt you.

It’s hard to keep your balance in a gale force wind. There are all sorts of winds that surge through a family, and I don’t mean the “he-did-it-she-did-it” accusations after a meal of beans on toast, but rather things like financial worries which can happen out of nowhere and toss all your carefully constructed plans inside out.

Wait. This is all sounding rather gloomy. There are plenty of bad storms which we all experience as parents, but we forget about the good storms, too. The moments of fierce love when you feel lightning bolts of affection for your kids. Impossibly huge blasts of power which surge straight from your heart and connect to theirs.

There are rainbow moments when you see beyond the fear, stress or drudgery and life is full of promise once more. No longer do you live for survival’s sake, but you start to make plans for the future again.

Even storms can bring out the best in people: There were selfless individuals who collected food, clothing and blankets to give to those affected most by the rain. We don’t enjoy being unsettled or hurt, but we can use those experiences to help other parents. Sometimes we have advice to offer, but mostly we can just be there as a support, simply acknowledging that we know it can be hard. A tested parent is a stronger parent.

As every child knows: Out comes the sun and dries up all the rain and the Itsy Bitsy Spider climbs up the spout again…

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