I have a learned a lot of things about being a parent that have changed the core of what I was/am. Pre-parent life, my husband and I were very competitive “go-getters” (as some people might call it). It’s not necessarily a bad trait to have, but our ambition also meant having very BIG dreams, HUGE aspirations and very HIGH STANDARDS.
We didn’t have the same background or family life, but we certainly had the same tough love, “you can do better” or “it could be better” mentality. I admit, I was the girl in school where I could see ALL A’s and one B+ and feel the need to argue with my teacher or professor as to why it needed to be an A. It does not help that many times I succeeded, which further added to my delusion of what was worth it or worth celebrating as good. Let’s just say that my childhood and pre-parent life, didn’t lend itself to teaching me about the feelings of failure. Even my High School Basketball team (and Volleyball team) were pretty much undefeated throughout my short athletic career. I never learned how to lose (which my parents can probably attest to when they played monopoly with me as a child).
I am pretty sure it looked a lot like this…
Okay…maybe not this bad, but I definitely felt this inside – LOL.
Then, I became a parent. We all talk about MOM GUILT, and I certainly was aware of it and quickly learned all the things that cause it. But I was never really prepared to deal with how many feelings of FAILURE I would have over seemingly positive things.
This is how easily ‘wins’ become failures:
Breastfeeding till she was 6 months turned into feeling of failure that I didn’t make it to a year.
Giving her the opportunity to go to school, learn, dance, play sports, turns into me not having enough time and falling short on the “organic and wholesome” dinners and lunches I should be giving her.
Showing her what it’s like to be a working woman, has led to my failure in being able to give her more time and patience.
It was exhausting feeling all these things. And just like it takes effort and a state of mind to stay sane at work, the same thing is what I needed to apply to my parent mentality. Yesterday, was one of those days for me. I was all-in-all in a very bad mood. I got nothing done that I wanted to accomplish, my daughter was home sick. I neglected to spend time with her because I had to work, and found myself flustered and tired in just one day.
I know there could be a lot of factors that contributed to what I felt: the time of month, the fact that I’ve been on the road for the last 8 weeks, we had 2 tons of laundry to fold, and I had way too many things to do than I had time for. Nevertheless, I was both impatient and completely guilt-ridden in how little I was able to spend time with Everly yesterday.
The feelings of failure came rushing in, as I look at her and think…
Am I doing this right?
Is she going to be a grumpy teenager with a major attitude because she sees my inability to be patient during days like this?
It came to the point where she was feeding off my stress. She didn’t want to finish her dinner. She fought me on everything. I felt like I failed yesterday.
I woke up this morning to Everly fully dressed (granted, she was wearing a pink tulle dress for school), and she was happy as a clam. She even apologized for having an “attitude” and told me she would “do better” today.
We had a pleasant morning. She ate all her breakfast. She listened. She asked for a cookie. I said, “no,” and she said, “Okay, maybe later.”
I took her to school, and came back home to find this…
I LOST IT (In a good way…)
So this might sound crazy to some of you (I told you crazy mom alert) or there’s some of you this might resonate with. At glance, it looks like nothing more than a picture of a bed, but it meant so much more.
Everly (my 3 year old) COMPLETELY UNPROMPTED FREAKIN’ MADE HER BED, AND ALMOST BETTER THAN MY HUSBAND! (Sorry, babe)
It dawned on me that even though I have bad moments as a parent, or bad days, I still make a positive impact on her. It’s moments like this, where she showed me independence, patience, respect, and responsibility in the span of the morning that overwhelmed me with gratefulness.
So, what am I trying to say? You deserve to celebrate the wins, and make sure they STAY wins. Don’t turn your wins into failures. Know that every win has a positive impact, and what you could have done ‘better’ isn’t something you’ve taken away from him/her.
Celebrate the times they say “please and thank you” without being reminded.
Celebrate the times you say “no” and they don’t compeltely freak out.
Or in my case, celebrate the first time they make a bed.
Here’s to you, mom or dad…for doing the best you can. Think of those wins today! Share the love.
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