As a PhD, I know all about studying. I’ve spent a good portion of my life learning, studying, taking tests, writing papers, and jumping through hoops to get to the next stage. This is a process I know well, a process with which I’m comfortable.
But as a parent, I don’t get the luxury of a guided syllabus or coursework to keep me on track. Rather, every day is a new discovery – often leading me into uncharted territory. I’ve spent my entire life learning how to learn, study, and prepare to be tested. And as a parent, I’m tested on a daily basis – but, unlike school, I never know what the questions are going to be.
Why are so many things taught in life except for parenting?
The biggest challenge I’ve encountered in learning to parent is the constant need to switch gears. While in school we are taken through a series of steps to get to a certain point, in parenting the things expected of us change every five minutes. At any given time I have to be cook, therapist, seamstress, playmate, artist, etc.
But my kids aren’t my only baby – I’m also running a new business, which is just as all-consuming. That means I’m not just all of those things I mentioned above, I’m also the two (full-time) roles of Dr. Ali and mom.
Finding balance in taking care of my business and my children hasn’t been easy. Rather, it’s a trial and error process. And in the trial and error process, I’ve found one very effective way to split the roles of parent and business owner: put my phone away (far away).
During the week, my phone stays in the bedroom from dinner through bedtime. That way I won’t be tempted to check every notification that pops up (in fact, I won’t even know they’re popping up). I can completely focus on my kids’ needs and go back to being Dr. Ali after they’ve gone to bed.
This is just one of the many ways I’m trying to improve my skills as a parent and give my kids the love, support, and attention they need. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the job of parenting, it’s that things will change the second you think you have a handle on your process. So I’m not going to get too excited about finding something that’s working. Instead, I’ll stay on my toes so I can keep learning about the ever-changing job of being a parent.
Want to learn more about how parenting can be learned? Read all about it here.
Image Credit: Danielle MacInnes