As a parent, have you ever had felt despite your best efforts, you just can’t do anything right?
I’ve certainly felt this way: when my sons have rejected clothes, toys, food and me! It’s a terrible feeling. You’re trying to do your best by your child, and don’t feel like you’re getting it “right.”
A girlfriend and I were swapping Mom stories one day. Here is how the exchange went:
“I had no idea how much work the Daddy Daughter dance would be to coordinate.”
“I know what you mean. Hang in there. The event will be great.”
“I got my kids to school 30 minutes late today. Mom Fail!”
“No way. You’ve got to cut yourself some slack. You’ve got a lot going on.”
“Thanks I needed to hear that.”
“Absolutely! You’re doing great. Keep me posted on how things go.”
Later in the day, it was I who needed my friend.
“I’m in the ER. Swallowed something he shouldn’t have. 😦 Ugh. How many times have I told him you only put food and water in your mouth!?”
“Oh my gosh, how are you doing? Are you okay?”
“I’m okay. I will feel better when he get’s a clean bill of health.”
“Prayers coming your way. Keep me posted.”
a while later…
“Just got the green light. He will be fine. So thankful. Appreciate you being there.”
“Great news. So happy to hear it. Talk to you soon.”
** ** ** ** **
Both my friend and I started out by sharing how we’d “failed” as moms. Of course, as a parent you go through ups and downs. An ‘up’ for me, is when one of my sons accomplishes something or has an insight that he’s proud of, and I quietly think/hope I may have influenced or inspired it. A ‘down’ comes when I have to argue or be stern with my boys to get them to do something (homework, eat, etc.) or they experience something avoidable (like swallowing something that isn’t water or food). In these moments, my mind wonders to think if only I were a better parent. Ever have one of those moments?
As a parent, we can, too often, beat ourselves up when things don’t go right. There is no perfect parent, or perfect parenting. There are an infinite number of styles, and if your motivation is doing what’s best for your child (not what your child wants, but what’s best for them), you are probably doing a pretty darn good job. My friend and I may have felt like parental failures, but only in the moment. Upon reflection, it was such moments that allow us to stop and reevaluate how we are doing as parents, and adjust (or readjust) as needed.
How have you dealt with moments when you felt like you weren’t at your parenting best? How did you recover from it?