In striving to be average, I try to keep it real. This parenting thing is hard. So damn hard. But so few people really talk about this. Everything is supposed to be sunshine and rainbows, I’m supposed to be madly in love with my children at all times of the day, have infinite patience, UN negotiation skills, never ending energy, and do it all with a smile on my face.
I am grateful that my children are in my life because my soul became complete when they were born. They have taught me what unconditional love really means, in receiving it and giving it. I am blessed so much. But let’s be realistic. I don’t always like my children.
I appreciate other parents who are willing to be honest about this struggle. Thank you for the nod of understanding when my child misbehaves. Or suggesting “it must be nap time” when my youngest had a meltdown in the grocery store, instead of just assuming he was a rotten kid. Thank you for recognizing that kids have ‘off’ days too and sometimes, we won’t even know what is going on with them until a few days later (sickness hits or a growth spurt, or they are worried about some upcoming event). Overall, my kids are very well behaved, but like us adults, they do have days where they just aren’t feeling right. It doesn’t matter what I do, most times it is beyond my control.
Thank you for the kind words when it becomes clear I’m in over my head. That even though I am an adult, with a psychology & sociology degree, I am still sometimes stumped, frustrated and anguished by the little people I created. Thank you for telling me your stories of how you have struggled, because I feel like less of a failure when you do. Thank you for being real with me.
I am not Mary Poppins, Lucille Ball and Martha Stewart all wrapped into one, and I absolutely don’t want to be. I want to be good role model for my children, I want them to be happy, healthy children, who most importantly, are given the opportunity to be children. I want my children to realize how amazing they are and that’s it’s OK to have a bad day. I can teach them how to pick themselves up, look forward, try again. In my struggle to parent, I can show them that we can always try to improve, try harder when we want to. Because I do share with them when I struggle with parenting (at least my 5 year old understands me), and I let them know when Mommy needs to try harder. I apologize when I am in the wrong – when I haven’t listened properly or I’ve yelled. I let them know I am not perfect and that they deserve to be treated with respect and love. And then I try harder.
I teach them that their actions have consequences, and are also opportunities for learning. That parents are not blank walls that can be subjected to unlimited blasts of toddler and preschool whims and tantrums. That their choices directly affect their day and the outcome of any situation. Just like it does for Mommy and Daddy.
Maybe, just maybe, by being an average parent, I can teach my children the coping skills needed for the imperfect world they live in.