If there is one aspect of parenting that separates my generation from my parents’, it’s the amount of information out there on raising kids. My current obsession is making sure I’m raising empathetic humans who keep their hands to themselves. But the more I read on the topic, the more I worry about how I might be messing my kids up. Then I start second-guessing all my decisions. And worse, I start insulting my own parenting. I am constantly seeking validation for how we are bringing up our kids, especially since there are so many parenting styles. I have to stop reading so much and listen to my gut more. I mean, I hit a wall with too much information while boning up on motherhood during my pregnancy and I just had to stop. So I’ve learned to take breaks from “studying” how to be the perfect parent.
And that’s because the “perfect parent” is a myth.
The more I say the aforementioned to myself, repeating it like a mantra so it can finally, maybe, sink in, the more I stop telling myself how much I suck at raising kids. Do they — sometimes — use their manners? Yes. Do they know they need to wear clothes when they leave the house? Yes. Do they skip off to bed without a fight when it’s time for sleep? Nope.
Sometimes I’m nailing it and sometimes I feel like a failure. These basic aspects of parenthood have to be universal. So as I work to accept that I will mess up, but those instances won’t define me as a mom, I look for the tiny successes we’re having as a family, even if the only thing I can think of is that we all tell each other we love one another before going to bed, no matter what. I have to check in with myself, to make sure I’m not harping on any negative reactions I may have to what’s going on with my family. I have to make sure I’m not insulting my parenting, like I am when I catch myself doing these things: