Let’s face it: parenting is hard. When your kids are little, it seems like every month there’s a new phase you are trying to navigate. Which brand of diapers is best? How in the world will I get this child to sleep all night? It doesn’t stop there either.
Once school starts, you are trying to help your child read and write, and most of us are not natural teachers! Then come all the extra-curricular activities. As parents we are constantly asking questions like, “Am I allowing too much?” or “Should I just force them to try something new?” And when you are parenting a teen, it’s like you have a case of whiplash 24/7. Teens are moody and those moods swing FAST. It is tough.
Since becoming a parent, I have learned that networking is something that all of us should be doing. You might be thinking that networking is something only done in the business world, but you are wrong!
Networking with other parents is the best gift you can give yourself. We are humans. Just because we became parents doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out. Sometimes we lack the skills or knowledge to be able to navigate through these phases and questions that always seem to be plaguing our minds. We must network!
What exactly does a networking parent look like? Well for starters, you need to swallow your pride and admit that sometimes you need help. It means that you will need to reach out to people in your network and say,
“These diapers leak and I change my baby’s sheets every single night. I am exhausted. What diapers do you use?”
I guarantee you someone in your network has been in the same boat and has found a better brand. It is OK to admit you aren’t an expert, even if your social media account says otherwise. Sometimes it means saying, “I have no way to get my kid to school in the mornings, can you help me out?” It means saying, “I am exhausted and need a break. I am going to call my mom, dad, or friend and just lament with them. Admitting you are tired to someone in your network can often be the release you need to keep going.
Networking isn’t just for parents. Your kids need you to network for their needs, too. My daughter loves making crafts. Last summer, she told me she wanted to make a quilt. I can’t sew, but my best friend can. I networked! My daughter spent hours and hours at her house each week and they had quilting lessons. Her quilt is now complete, she has learned a new skill, and I had a few hours a week to just relax.
My friend, who is a boy mom, also loved being able to share something “girly” with my daughter. It was all because of networking and allowing someone else to pour into my child when I didn’t have the skills or ability to do so. Your network of friends and family is full of people who probably have valuable insight they can share with your kids. From changing a tire to cake decorating, I guarantee there is someone in your network who can help your kids learn about new things.
Networking is good for businesses, yes, but it is also a blessing to families. We are made to be in community, and we must remember that our network stretches far beyond the walls of our homes. We owe it to our kids to network. You might have something valuable to share with someone else, too!
Lori Moore is a native of Knoxville and has been an educator for the past 20 years. She shares her home with her husband of 20 years, Bryan, and their teen daughter named Lucy. While she’s no longer an educator, she keeps busy working for Help You Dwell as a professional organizer and writer. She has recently finished writing her first novel and hopes to have it published sometime in early 2023. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.