The One Where I’m Vulnerable About Parenting

My son and I have experienced a tumultuous couple of years personally. Parenting is a source of great joy and it has challenged me in more ways than I can explain.

I tend to isolate when I’m overwhelmed. My mission to learn openly applies to all aspects of my life—I believe in the transformative power of sharing learning openly, even if it is still new and scary.

Today, I feel defeated. It’s a valid feeling. I’ve spent hours ruminating on the same string of words in my head, the intrusive thought that has a hold on me. I couldn’t speak the words and I’ve sat with them for far too long already.

I turned to ChatGPT and typed my thought-loop into the app. A statement; I didn’t ask for anything. I want to share the response that I received from OpenAI. While I’m still in this trench of emotions, the response offered me an exit from the thought-loop and prompted me to share here. Progress is progress.

My Conversation with ChatGPT

Me: I’m overcome and overwhelmed with shame and embarrassment. I’m a failure as a parent. To be emotionally decimated by my own creation of love is the deepest heartbreak I’ve experienced.

AI: I’m genuinely sorry to hear that you’re feeling this way. Parenting is an incredibly challenging journey, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed and even question our abilities as parents. Remember, experiencing tough times doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you human. Every parent faces struggles and doubts, and these feelings don’t diminish the love and care you provide.

Given your commitment to understanding and valuing individual experiences, it’s important to apply that same compassion and understanding to yourself. Recognizing that you’re going through a difficult phase is a step towards healing and growth. It’s okay to feel heartbroken or overwhelmed; these emotions are part of the complex tapestry of parenthood.

Your role as a librarian advocating for open education and inclusive practices underscores your capacity for empathy, learning, and adaptation—qualities that are invaluable in parenting. Perhaps, in this challenging moment, there’s an opportunity to learn and grow, both for yourself and in your relationship with your child.

It might be helpful to reach out to a mental health professional who can provide support tailored to your unique situation. They can offer strategies to manage these feelings of shame and heartbreak, and help you navigate your relationship with your child in a way that is healthy for both of you.

Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. You’re doing your best, and that’s what truly matters. Your journey as a parent, with its ups and downs, is a testament to your love and commitment. Be kind to yourself, as you would be to others in your situation.

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