Parenting is hard work.
Being a great mom comes so easily to some of the women that I know. It just seems like they know all of the things that one needs to do to be perfect, and doing those things comes naturally.
I’m kind of jealous of those women. Most days, I feel like I’m pretending to have maternal instinct. I’m doing the whole fake it until you make it. Taking care of these children, physically and emotionally, takes intention on my part.
I know why, though. I didn’t have the most consistent role models when I was growing up. There wasn’t a lot of inspiration when it comes to doing things the right way for my children. My parents tried, but they had so many personal issues going on that they definitely fell short. I’m basically starting from scratch, trying to remember how I felt as a kid and doing things differently than they did.
I remember feeling afraid to talk to my parents, and trying to shrink so I wouldn’t be a nuisance. A lot of times, I felt like I was in the way. Anything that came out of my mouth was wrong. That feeling of being a bother took years and years to go away. I don’t want that for my children. I want them to know that their presence is a gift to me, and that I love and want them to be here. They need to know that their thoughts are important, that their feelings are valid, and that it’s okay (and expected) for them to need me.
At the same time, I want to teach them how to be respectful and to understand boundaries. I want them to understand rules and do the right thing. But, I also want them to be independent and free-thinkers who aren’t afraid to go off on their own instead of following the crowd.
I tell you, being a mom is not for weak folks. There is so much to consider when raising kids up to be well-adjusted humans.
The biggest challenge I have is trying to find the balance between being a loving parent and teaching my children how to be. I constantly doubt myself and wonder if I’m doing a good job. There are many nights when I lay in bed wondering if I handled this situation correctly, or if I should have been more lenient (or strict) in that situation.
Sometimes the balance is off
There are days when the balance is off a bit. Ayva is 9, so it seems like every few day there are new important lessons that she needs to learn about responsibility and respect. It can be tough, this season of teaching and learning, because it feels like I’m nagging a lot. I know it’s for her good, but that doesn’t mean those days aren’t difficult for us.
Discipline was such a huge part of the way my parents raised me, so I’m super sensitive to the methods I use. I don’t spank my children, I try not to yell, and I never curse at them. Still, I worry that I’m somehow ruining their lives.
Fortunately, I have mom friends who tell me that I’m not alone. Even the ones who look like they have it all together. We’re all overthinking our parenting choices, and hoping that our best is good enough. Worrying that we’re not doing the right thing actually means that we care to do the right thing, which is the most important part of being a good mom. The intention is there.
I’m going to start giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I’ll trust the constant smiles my kids have, and believe that my love and intentions to do the best that I can for these kids is enough. That’s not to say there won’t still be sleepless nights and doubts. I’m just going to work to trust my parenting skills and show myself some grace.