Parenting Basics

Parenting is not easy. Understatement? BIG understatement. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably figured that out, or at least you are beginning to. To say that it is a big responsibility doesn’t even begin to describe the enormity of the task. Will my children be healthy and safe? Will they be smart? Popular? Will I be able to provide everything they will need? Bicycles and braces? Doctors, Degrees, and weddings? The seemingly endless responsibilities and worries of a parent can be overwhelming for anyone. Now, imagine that you get to keep the entire laundry list of every parent’s cares and concerns, but have most of your ability to control the outcome taken away. That’s right, now you’re getting close to understanding the life of a parent/road warrior (or warrior princess). I know that I’ve made parenting, especially parenting from the road, seem a daunting, if not hopeless task, but don’t lose heart. You can find success as a parent, even as a parent on the road.

First, remember before anything else, that parenting is about relationship. Before I go any further, I need to point out one of the greatest pitfalls in this area for any parent, and that is misidentifying their role in the child’s life. Will you be your child’s parent, or their friend? I know it seems like a no brainer, but when you look at the families around you, you will see plenty of evidence that many parents are unable to make the proper distinction. As I have told my children many times over the years, “I want to be your friend, But I have to be your dad.” For a traveling parent, this can be a particularly difficult part of the relationship to keep in balance. But, keep in mind, the fact that you are on the road doesn’t change the child’s needs or any of the basic rules of parenting, it only changes your approach to both.

The traveling parent faces two distinct sets of challenges. One when he or she is at home, and a completely different set when “on the road” but many times, the answers to the questions from one half of our lives are found in the other half. In other words, the answers to the challenges you face at home may very well be found on the road. Here’s an example. The biggest temptation for any travelling parent, when at home, is to give in to the feelings of guilt that inevitably come from spending so much time away from the child. One answer to this problem lies in your involvement with your child while you’re away. It is entirely possible to spend time with your child while you are traveling. Take a little time and speak with them on the phone each night. Send them post cards so they can see where your travels are taking you. Be creative and find ways to remind your child that you love them and are thinking about them while you are away. It is not always convenient and it may not seem its enough, but you won’t believe the impact it will make for your child to have that connection to you even when you’re not at home. In fact, if you follow this advice, you may find that you spend more time with your child when you are in another state than when you are at home. The inverse is true as well. Remember when I mentioned earlier that feeling of having no control over your child while you are away? By being the “parent” while you are physically with your child, you will develop a sense of fulfilled responsibility that will enable you to parent with much more authority from wherever your travels take you.

Just remember, parenting is parenting whether you do it from your living room or the hotel room. Care for your child’s needs before you fulfill their wants. And be creative, the two parts of your life are inextricably entwined, so what you do in one will affect the other. As earlier stated, being a parent carries a responsibility that is certainly not for the faint of heart, but when carried out with passion, purpose, and a determination that only love can foster, it will be the greatest reward of your entire life. Parenting is not easy, but then, what worthwhile thing ever was?