“What other people think about you is none of your business…“
If you’re new here and would like to catch up on some of my past Mad About It Monday posts you can find them here:
The Inadequate Mother
Parenting is a full time job where the pay is in hugs, kisses, snuggles, and a lifelong relationship with your little one. But unlike traditional jobs, parents don’t get a lot of feedback. There are no annual reviews and sometimes it’s hard to gauge just how well you’re doing at your job. I think that’s why I fall into that trap, as I’m sure many others also do, of comparing myself to other moms. Not just that, but I worry about the judgement I get from other parents when my child is acting up in public or when I let my frustration get to me and end up raising my voice in front of others. I’m left wondering, at the end of the day, if my parenting is going to yield the results I hope for (a well adjusted, kind, compassionate, intelligent, respectful adult someday down the road) or if my child is going to end up with years of therapy as an adult.
How do you grade yourself when it comes to being a parent?
A few weeks ago I stopped by a drive-thru while C and I were out running errands. After I handed her the small bottle of chocolate milk, she asked me for a straw. I explained to her that she was going to have to drink her milk without one, just like we do at home. Instead of enjoying it, like I expected her to, she looked at me and started to pour out the milk all over my back seat. I reacted, without thinking, and yelled (very loudly and firmly) at her to stop. Normally when I get after my child, she pouts, whines, or sheds the occasional (real) tear. This time was different. She didn’t cry. She didn’t pout. She buried her head into her hands. It was at that moment that I realized I had shamed my daughter. I felt like a failure. A monster. It’s easy to let those moments define my day, my week, my month, and even my life but do those hiccups really make me a bad parent?!
I guess the answer to that is different for all of us. No one child is exactly like another and parenting styles differ from family to family. I just need to learn to look forward. Each day is a new adventure with the opportunity to create memories with my family. I have to understand that I’m going to screw up. I wrote a post a while back (Walking the Line: On Parenting) and I have to go back, from time to time, and remind myself of those words. That it’s okay. That learning how to parent isn’t a test we can study for, it’s an experience that we learn and grow from with each passing day.
The days when I feel like a complete and utter failure are the ones that I could use the most encouragement. So let me offer some to you:
- There are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days but no one day will last forever.
- Cherish those special moments with your child and think back on them to help you get through the rough days.
- If you feel like you’ve completely screwed your chances for winning that “Mother Of The Year” award, know that you’re not alone. We are all in the same boat.
- You are not inadequate. You are strong and this, too, shall pass.
Parenting is tough and we are warriors.