Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forgive Yourself

HumpDay Dilemma

There are times when I feel like an awful parent. There, I admitted it. But I don’t think I am alone.  In fact I think every parent has times when we regret the way we reacted to a situation, question or behavior.  No one wants to admit it, but if we are really honest with ourselves and others I think that is what we would say.  

There are many reasons we get to the point where we are disappointed in our own parenting behaviors.  Parenting is a lifelong learning experience and I am far from figuring it all out.  However, I have a few thoughts I would like to share with you in hopes that it helps you (and me) to be the best parent you can every day. 

    I am NOT PERFECT.  Contrary to the way most moms (and dads) feel they have to be, I am not and will never be perfect.  And that is ok. No one but me is expecting me to be.  It may be easy to say, but it is much harder actually let go of my unrealistic expectations for me, my family and my life. 

    I need to focus on what is important.  It is so easy in the craziness of life to lose sight of what is important to me.  I often think that my life revolves around my kids, but if I look at where I spend my time I will see that I often let other “things” creep in and take over.  Changing that is hard but it is well worth it.  

    I have to do what I love.  If I do not enjoy what I do for a living, I will slowly begin to take it out on my family, especially my kids. Switching jobs may not be a possibility (or maybe it is), but it is possible to add things into my day, week and month that I love.  I often avoid doing things that take more time away from my kids that might help keep me happy because I think that my children will be the ones to suffer.  The reality is that my children suffer when I do not make time to put myself first.  My children’s needs may be more immediate than mine, but they are not more important. 
    I forget to ask for help.  I generally have no problem asking my husband for help, but when it comes to asking others for help I hesitate because I fear people will think less of me as a parent.  I need to get over that and realize that absolutely no one can be a great parent without help.  One thing I have found out in my 15 years in the childcare industry is that the most amazing parents have the most amazing support systems.    

    I should stop comparing.  It is so easy to drive myself nuts by comparing my children’s abilities and behaviors to other children’s.  I have to stop and remember that children are all different.  It is my personal belief that every child has at least one talent that they are meant to excel in.  When I go around judging my kids’ abilities compared to their friends’ talents, I often fail to see what my kids are really good at.  The best thing I can do for my children is to focus on the things they are really good at then validate and encourage them to do that more.  I need to stop looking at what my children lack and embrace what they have!! 

    I find it hard to forgive myself.  Often times when I coach parents I help them work through the mistakes that they feel they have made as parents.  Sometimes they realized that after years of parenting they regret the way they have treated their children.  Others have had a momentary slip-up and they yelled at their children when they did not mean to or something similar.  I teach this concept of self-forgiveness every day, yet I find it to be one of the most difficult things to master as a parent myself.  I am working at it.  The truth is that children are the most resilient creatures on the planet.  Their brains are designed to forgive and forget.  It is only as we grow older that we start to hang on to mistakes.  
    Above all else I need to CONNECT with my children!!!!  The single greatest gift I can give myself and my children is the chance to connect with them.  Through this connection all mistakes can be healed and all wrongs put right.  This does not mean that I have to go out and spend money to do things or buy a bunch of stuff.  It does not even mean I have to take a significant amount of time each day.  If I can remember to just work to involve myself more in what my children are  already doing I am on the right track.  When my children are clamoring for my attention, I need to learn to stop what I am doing for 5 or 10 min and play with them or invite them into what I am doing.  If I can make sure they get some time every week where they have my undivided attention, life will be better for everyone because ultimately that is what my children really need. 

No comments: