As a kid I wondered about life. Life beyond school girl dreams. Life beyond childhood friends, beyond rules and boundaries. The dream was to one day be successful. Successful in a career, in a marriage, in parenthood. At first it seemed so difficult. The example I started out with was nothing but daunting. An abusive mother and alcoholic father who were separated long before I understood what a career, marriage, and parenthood even was. But then it all changed. At ten years old I was rescued by my aunt and uncle. Two people who had done the career, had done and were doing marriage well, and had already raised their own children; Now starting over with me.
This post is not about the woes of my past. My the challenges I didn’t realize I would face now. In my adult life. No one seems to want to admit that the longing people have to be successful is well…challenging. Does anyone else want to be a good parent? As mentioned in a previous post, once I realized that the life of a career woman was not my calling, I would be the best parent I could be. But no one said how difficult this task would be.
Truth be told, I get get angry, I get mean, ungrateful, selfish, bitter. What’s worse? Moments I have these emotions towards my children. I could write about how I try to be a great parent and how I am surpassing my own expectations for myself. How I am truly outdoing myself. But, this would unfortunately be a lie. I do try my best but there are times when I fail. When I wake up I decide what kind of day it will be. We all do this. I started to notice this thought very recently. It seemed when I was short tempered, or overly tired from a sleepless night; by the end of the day I was discouraged by my actions and temper towards my children. But some mornings my first response is a smile, a kind word or a tickle party with my toddler. This makes for a great day. A more calm, fun, patient, loving day.
Just like our children, we as adults deal with strong emotions. But being good enough doesn’t have to be one of them. Parenthood has many struggles. But I feel like the hardest one is this feeling that we are screwing up. That we aren’t doing this parenting thing right. You may, like me, struggle with keeping your own emotions in check, and needing to have better reactions to tough situations. Maybe it’s something else that you do that makes you feel a mediocre parent. Or maybe it’s just the fear of doing it wrong. I’ve leaned there is no right way to parent. The books with advice can be great, Mom’s helpful words can be encouraging, but at the end of the day, the way we parent is entirely up to us. while this may seem like the scary part, I’m learning that this is actually what can help keep me from falling into that mind trap of not feeling up to parr as a parent.
I have the power to be the best parent. It doesn’t happen over night. I have to take it a day at a time. Remembering that my first reaction in the morning seems to set the tone for my day, step one is rising with a peaceful mind and a good attitude. I have a toddler and a 7 month old. I get sleepless nights. So this is my biggest challenge. But when I have a day when I succeed, I feel great about myself as a parent. To be honest, my children are better for it to. They are happier and more patient as well.
The answer is intention. While all things in life must be done with intention, so should parenting. If I want to be the best parent I can be. I need to strive for that with intention. When I rise in the morning with the intention of being a great parent, I will choose patience, and love to guide my day. It may sound cheesy and cliche but I am slowly learning that by doing this, I am more kind throughout the day and my children are benefiting from that and so am I. Why? because I am day by day reaching my goal with intention.
If your feeling less than a great parent, take it a day at a time. Intend to be great and you will be. And so will I. If we have one bad day, a new sunrise will bring a fresh start. Try a morning tickle party!