I promised someone that I would blog about my mommy doubts today. I follow several blogs of women with younger children and they are all very courageous women. None of knows how courageous we are until that little one arrives and we realize that we are responsible for a life, or two, or more, forever after. In the face of all that fear of doing something “wrong” we manage to go on and raise wonderful children with a multitude of personalities, hopefully, not all in one child.
Our children inherit our best and, unfortunately, our worst, traits. All we can hope to do is teach them how to emphasize the positive and control the negative. We all want our children to grow up to be the best that they can be, but we see our own faults, and wonder if our children will be like us. We start to doubt our ability to raise the perfect child and we start comparing ourselves and our children to other parents and children. Sometimes, we even compare ourselves to our own parents, for better or worse.
This is where we start to stray from the path of good parenting. When we try to be like other parents and wish our kids were like other kids. No! Stop! Every one of us is different and unique and that is the way it is supposed to be. Accept who you are. Embrace who you are. Embrace who your child is and each of your children, although they come from the same parents, will be very different from the others. How boring would life be if all kids were the same, if all people were the same?
I know who my kids are now and I know who they were when they were younger. What I don’t know is who they will be next year, in five years, thirty years. When we saw, if we did, our parents acting like someone we knew they weren’t, what did we think? Do you remember? When we see people we know acting differently around different people, what goes through our minds? They look ridiculous. Why don’t they just be themselves? This is what we need to do as parents, just be ourselves, our best selves. Oh, being our best selves is hard indeed, but it is what we are willing to do for our children.
Of course, our best self may vary from day to day or year to year. Everything depends on our circumstances and how we handle them. And yes, it is okay to screw up! Good grief, everybody messes up, sometimes at critical times. What is important is showing our kids that we are not perfect and we don’t expect them to be perfect, and what to do when we do screw things up. Our example is how they learn. If they see us messing up everyday and picking ourselves up and trying again, then they will learn to persevere. There is always a bright side to life, it just sometimes takes time and distance to change our perspective and allow us to see it.
For example, I can now calmly give advice to people with young children and babies and feel confident in what I am saying…now that I don’t have three little kids running around screaming and fighting and yelling for mommy when I am trying to do something else. Now I look to others on advice for raising three teenagers. Mostly, I look to God, because I truly believe that he is the only one who understands them and can help. Well, a good massage therapist can help too.
I constantly worry if I am being a good example for them. Am I teaching them the right lessons at the right times? Do they know I love them, because it feel like all I do is lecture or yell? Have I taught them to make good decisions? Have I taught them to be strong and stand up for themselves and their beliefs? Do they know that they can make different choices than I have? Do they know that I will love them even when they screw up, even when they go against my wishes?
I also feel guilty when I just want to be left alone. I don’t always want to be with them. Sometimes I like doing things with them and sometimes I don’t. For example, last night the five of us all went out for dinner, which is a rare treat anymore. Dinner was wonderful, the teenagers were all on their phones or ipods and the adults sat and stared at each other and wondered why we bother doing things together. I’m may be exaggerating…a little. We did have some good conversation, mostly jokes poking fun at each other. Afterward, we went to Home Depot to pick up some stuff for the house. I love going to Home Depot and looking around seeing what is new and what I like and don’t like. I am a browser. I hate going with anyone because I am then torn in twenty different directions simultaneously. “Mom, come look at this.” “Mom, I want that.” “Jeez Mom, can’t you just stay by us and not get lost?” Do you see what I mean? Before we even entered the store, I told my husband that I was going straight to bathroom, which happens to be way in the back of the store. Instead, I made a few detours and got “lost”. Eventually, I did go to the bathroom and when I came out, there were all three of my kids laughing and acting goofy right outside the door. What does a good mom do in a situation like this? I ditched them. As I rounded a corner into another department, three associates, two men and a woman, were working there. The woman asked if I needed any help and I replied that I was doing fine, just browsing and hiding from my family. She laughed and the men looked confused. She must have been a mother.
Anyway, I started to feel guilty about not wanting to be with my kids and not laughing at their in-store antics. I could see and hear them from several aisles over, then I would go for cover. Should I feel guilty about this? I don’t know. It is what I am living now and is, therefore, completely confusing.
I guess what I am trying to say is….I don’t know what I am trying to say. Raising kids is hard and confusing, but it is also joyful and rewarding. Do your best. Listen to advice from several different sources and choose what is best for your family and your situation. There is no right or wrong when we are doing our best, only a fog of doubt that doesn’t clear for many years.
I have made many good choices and many bad choices. Hopefully, my children will learn from both and be better for it.
Wow, that is a lot of words. I hope it doesn’t sound too preachy. See, I still worry about what others think. Even so, I am posting it as is and you can “Like” it or not. Jeez, now I just sound b#@*&y. (I do not know why that is highlighted. I am not responsible if it accidentally links to something unsavory. I’ll be checking it out for sure.) When I clicked on it, it opened my email and wanted to send something to b#@*&y. I’m not going to send it. It would probably just come back to me.
Have a great day and I’m going to see if I can at least get to 20,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I wonder if I can just paste this into my story.
- Mommy Bloggers Would Have Made Me a Better Mother (blogher.com)
- The “M” Word (singledadventures.wordpress.com)
- I Don’t Want to Be a Perfect Mom; I Want to Be a Better One (blogher.com)
- You’ll laugh hard at ‘Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days’ (goerie.com)
- Are Love & Logic parents lunatics? (revangiem-n.com)