By Lindsay Spolan Pinchuk, Founder + CEO, Bump Club and Beyond
Does anybody have a map?
Anybody have a map?
Anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this?
I don’t know if you can tell
But this is me just pretending to know
—Heidi and Cynthia, the two moms in Dear Evan Hansen
I heard these words sung on Broadway this past weekend and I can’t imagine there is a parent out there who doesn’t relate. Who the hell really knows what they are doing when it comes to parenting?
On a daily basis I am charged with making sure thousands of moms and moms-to-be get the best advice, resources, information and products to parent successfully. I have chosen to make a career out of this and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I LOVE WHAT I DO. I LOVE being here for you and your families.
But, I’m often surprised when other parents expect that what goes on within the four walls of my home is picture perfect. Believe it or not, there are many challenges in my own household too.
I have not slept through the night since last April due to a constant sleep issue. Screen time (especially regarding YouTube videos) is a perpetual argument, and the bickering between my girls is enough to send me sprinting out the door for a moms night out at the drop of an invite (test me, I dare you.)
Parenting is SO hard. The hardest job out there. #HardAF.
I am lucky in that anxiety has never presented as an issue for me personally, but in the last four months or so I have come to know that it is no joke, especially with regards to a child. One of the things I’ve shared with my friends, but not publicly until now, is that one of my girls is currently dealing with a fear of flying that while not every day, is a huge source of anxiety for her.
It may not seem like the biggest deal, but for our family it is a definite hurdle we are working to get over. Our entire family (both sides) lives out of town. I have not seen my two amazing nieces and brother-in-law in over a year and a half. Both myself and my husband travel a TON for work—to amazing places. We are so fortunate and would love to be able to have the girls come along. We love to travel and want to share that with our kids. While this fear and anxiety doesn’t interfere with life on a daily basis, it is a big problem, and one we are trying to work through.
This has been going on for awhile and it has gotten worse with time. The fear in my daughter is paralyzing for her; I honestly wouldn’t wish for any parent to see their child in the state of panic I have witnessed. About a year and a half ago it became apparent that my daughter needed help in a way that neither I nor my husband could provide. I also knew that if we ignored it, the problem would not only persist, but would likely worsen.
The hardest part of this whole experience for me has been the fact that I am unable to just fix it. I know that this is not going to be the first or last time that a problem arises with my kids that I can’t fix on my own. But that’s what I do; as most of you know, I get shit done. If you need an answer, I’ll find it. But with this, it’s not just seeking professional help for my child, it’s a process, and one that is not going to resolve overnight.
For the sake of why I am sharing this, the actual fear is not really important, nor the point of what I am trying to say. WHY I am sharing this here is to tell you that no matter what you are going through on your parenting journey—you’re not alone.
I am so fortunate to have an extensive network of people to reach out to for professional reference. I am incredibly lucky to have been referred to an amazing child psychologist who I adore (my closest friends know and refer to her on a first name basis in our conversations on the topic). She is helping all of us to work through this issue and has instilled confidence in me that together we will get there.
While having a trustworthy professional in your corner is so important, there is something else equally as so when a parenting challenge arises. That is talking through the issue with close friends. Many of us just don’t do this. We fear judgment, and we fear that if others know, we are no longer “perfect.”
I know that sometimes in scrolling through our social media feeds it’s easy to think that no one would understand what you’re going through. The quest for perfection on Facebook and Instagram can often times be paralyzing when looking in from the outside. But I don’t care who you “follow” that may seem flawless, I guarantee that their lives behind their profile is not what you’re seeing on your screen every day.
Sharing my situation and talking about it with others who I trust has proven to be as important in helping me, as working with the psychologist has been for my child. Since sharing this situation, I have come to know many other families who are also dealing with a form of anxiety in their own home.
Not only has talking about this situation helped me realize how much people care, but EVERYONE I talk to about this situation wants to help. From offering suggestions, to sharing stories of those with a similar fear, to providing resources when they see them, or just listening; I could not imagine keeping this to myself. Had I never talked about the problem, certain suggestions never would have been presented as possible resolutions. I also have never once felt alone in working towards a solution—which is pretty amazing.
If you’re experiencing some kind of situation with one or more of your children, I can promise you—someone else you know is too.
Talk about it.
Share it with the people you trust.
As many of you know, I believe that it truly takes a village—I know without mine, I’d be completely lost.
So where’s the map?
I need a clue
‘Cause the scary truth is
I’m flyin’ blind
I’m flyin’ blind
And I’m making this up as I go
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I just want to thank all of my colleagues, friends and loved ones for your support, suggestions and listening ears. You know who you are, and I am so lucky to have you in my corner. —LSP