Don’t let the title fool you, I’m not calling you a failure, maybe there was time when you thought that about yourself. Have you ever found yourself in a situation as a parent and doubted yourself because you didn’t do something perfectly or maybe even completely screwed it up? If you said no, congratulations you’re in the minority! I can recall doing things and making decisions and questioning whether I was making the best choices possible. A lot of times I was so on point I did an internal victory dance, others I almost sat myself in a time out to reflect on my own thoughts. P.S. I don’t actually do time outs, it came to mind because I watched an episode of Supernanny not too long ago.
No parent is perfect, how can you be when we as individuals are all imperfect? We all make mistakes, even in parenting, however just like in basketball, when you miss a shot you also have a chance to rebound, usually anyway. (Forgive the sports reference, I used to be a tomboy.)
My mother’s version of a rebound when I was growing up was a phrase I heard several times. Whenever I was punished for something she believed I was guilty of, then was later proven to be innocent, I heard these words or something similar: “Although you didn’t do this, consider that for whatever you may have gotten away with that I don’t know about.” That used to irritate me as a child, so there were times when I would do something to earn that punishment, of course without her knowing. If she would’ve found out, I wouldn’t have received a credit for the wrongful punishment, that only covered unknown offenses, not future ones lol. She definitely didn’t play around. I’ll discuss more about my mother later in future posts. I broke the cycle on that and didn’t adopt that into my parenting style.
Why did I say cycle? Well, there are patterns that we learn by seeing them repeated, whether good or bad. How many times have you seen or heard of people growing up in an environment that they felt was toxic and then ended up replicating that same environment as an adult? Don’t worry, this is merely being used as an example. There were things growing up that I did not like, so I chose not to implement them in my parenting. Does this mean I considered my mother as a failure for doing things that I did not like? No, not at all.
Parenting is a learning experience and it is a real job. You can read all of the books, manuals, etc and you will never know everything. Sorry, but it’s the truth. How many times have you had a job and have gone through extensive training only to find out that when you are actually doing the job, a lot of the information presented to you was either inaccurate, obsolete, or was completely inapplicable in the real world? I have had multiple customer service based jobs where there were hours upon hours of training on procedure XYZ, only to hit the floor and be told disregard the training, we don’t do X or Z, we do Y sometimes and 123. So now I’m left trying to unlearn that while relearning the new stuff. On the bright side, at least the training was paid.
Parenting is generally a journey with a lot of twists and turns, uphill battles, etc. It is often thankless and unfortunately when something bad happens with a person, one of the first things usually stated is “I blame the parents”. Parents shape and guide their children, however they do not think for them nor can they always control their actions. Sometimes parents can be partially to blame, depending on the age of the person in question, but not always. Everything is not your always your fault, so do not burden yourself with that type of pressure or guilt. Do your best, learn from your mistakes and those made by others, and ask for help when needed.