We all know that parenting – and kids – don’t come with a manual. That said, it doesn’t make any of us feel any better when we worry whether we’re screwing up parenting.
I have been there time and time again
Wondering whether the actions of my past will come home to roost one day. Almost six years down the line, there are so many moments when I think “My God! What on earth was I doing? What could I have been thinking?”.
Did I create separation anxiety in my daughter by having to go back to run my business at three months?
Did I screw up my daughter by repeatedly putting her on the naughty step?
Was I wrong to sleep train her at eight months with the cry it out approach, which now seems so horribly brutal?
The list goes on. We make the decisions and compromises we make at the time, and take the actions we take because it made sense right then. But looking back we wonder, and if we let the mind wander down that dark path my goodness! There can be no end to it. It can be all consuming.
But the reality is – none of it is helpful
I will never forget my sister saying to me when we were in the thick of the terrible twos that the fact that I was even worrying about X, Y or Z meant that I was probably not the sort of parent that should even be worrying about screwing it all up! In hindsight, I now know she is right.
So if you’re worried that you’re screwing up parenting, know that THAT thought right there, means you are probably not. Scratch underneath the surface and you will see all the amazing things that you are as a parent, and all the amazing things that you do.
It’s time to change your perspective
Instead of looking at yourself through your own scathing eyes, look at yourself through your child’s eyes when you think you’re screwing up parenting.
Despite having thought I was the world’s worst mum many a time over in my six year mum career thus far, my daughter still cuddles me and calls me the “best mummy ever” pretty much on a daily basis.
I never fail to be totally floored with disbelief when she utters those words. I almost want to look over my shoulder, wondering if she is talking to somebody else!
Know that in the eyes of your child, you have done enough, and you are almost certainly not screwing up parenting! And if you do happen to mess up then hey – you’re teaching your children that people make mistakes, and mistakes are totally normal. You are teaching them resilience and how to cope with being let down in a world which is battling against a wave of gross self entitlement.
We are not an island
Know that whatever issues you are dealing with in this parenting thing, you are not dealing with them alone. Whether’s it’s struggling to balance family and work life, or the incessant pest that technology is becoming.
We are all in this together.
When you think you’re screwing up parenting, and need a reminder of all the amazing things you have done as a parent, and all the wonderful things you are – all you need to do is look back on all those photos, videos and moments.
There, right there is proof! You may just have forgotten, but this really is the best reminder there is, that you are not screwing this parenting thing up!
Raising children is a messy, glorious, and very often inglorious journey. Let go of the guilt, and the expectations, and embrace the mess that you are.