Dad 101 has recently rediscovered his love of fishing, a pastime he fondly recalls from childhood memories. I am not really a worm-on-a-hook type of gal myself but would love Immy to grow up with more of an adventurous, outdoorsy spirit than my childhood bookworm status bestowed me!
As I watch Dad 101 get into this whole fishing as a hobby caper, I realised there are a lot of parallels between fishing and parenting, at least in our house at the moment!
Seven Parenting Lessons to be Learnt from Fishing
Firstly, to be a successful fisherperson you need to have patience. Though the patience required for sitting by the water, quietly watching the world go by seems a lot more attractive than the patience I am currently calling on – with a whining, teething toddler who has recently realised what it means to be two and a half. Whatever their age, there are days when our children test our patience. How did I deal with my teething toddler who was particularly whingey this morning? I got us both out of the house for a run in the fresh air, a change of scenery was definitely required and quickly cleared the air!
Fishing requires lots of gear – rods, lures, rigs, tackle. Children require mountain loads of gear. Our recent short holiday break provides a case in point. Not only did we lug cases and bags with us but also a stroller and car seat, on and off planes, in and out of taxis, with one hand always needing to be free for the toddler who was not the least bit interested in sitting in a stroller after sitting on a plane for a number of hours. Then there is the packing – snacks for the flight, entertainment for the flight, toys for while we are away, cot sized bedding, multiple cups, plastic bowls, child sized cutlery, the list goes on… did I mention we were only going away for a few days?
To catch a fish, you have to have the right bait. As much as I hate to admit it, there are times as a parent when I resort to ‘bait’ as the simplest way to achieve what I want or need at the time. In parenting terms, we would most probably call this a reward, treat or bribe, whatever it is called it can provide the quickest and easiest way to get a job done and although I try not to overuse it, at least it doesn’t require placing worms on a hook!
A good fisherperson researches the best places and times to fish, they ask around and read up on the local area. Modern day motherhood is much the same. We talk to other Mums, visit online forums, buy parenting magazines and books, abuse the powers of Dr Google, sadly often as we no longer have the close family ‘tribe’ to call upon and have forgotten how to trust our instincts to just be the best Mum we can be. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Fishing takes time. Parenting and growing a family takes time and time is something we struggle to manage in our lives today. We need to slow down and find ways to just ‘be’ in the moment with our children, regardless of what our work is throwing at us, what chores need doing, whatever it is we feel we ‘should’ be doing.
Fishing is not for the faint hearted, not only when it comes to the whole worm scenario but also the
revolting smelly delicate tasks of scaling, cleaning, gutting and filleting once the fish has been caught. Without a doubt, parenting provides plenty of ‘ick’ factor, especially when it comes to babies and toddlers, and the joys of gastroenteritis!
At the end of a long day, the successful fisherperson celebrates his catch with a good meal of fresh fish, caught with his own two hands. As parents, we need to let go of the guilt, the competition, the ‘what ifs,’ and celebrate what we have accomplished each day. After all, we are doing the best we can.
- Lessons Learnt from Toddlerhood
- Why Kids Are No Good At Being Good
- This is not the way to deal with public tantrums!