Parenting Anxiety

Most parents love their children more than there are words to express it. Most parents do their best everyday to ensure their children are getting everything they need. There are weird exceptions, but I'm going to focus on the majority.

I read an article today that sparked some interesting conversation. Some of that conversation had me overreacting. One person used the word NEVER, in all caps just like that. It was like an attack that in my over four years of parenting, I've been doing it wrong. And this person isn't even a parent. The rule of parenting being advised had the perspective of someone who spends all day with kids, but not a parent. GAH! I'll spare you the details of the of my "I'm a bad parent" monologue and move to the next stage. 

Of course, there was nothing wrong with the advice. It is every person's own experience that makes up their truth. And everyone is doing the very best they can, even in those moments of overreacting. There is a good reason for everything we do.

Me? I was hurt that I won't ever measure up as a parent. Most parents have these moments. I think these moments of doubt make us better parents. Constantly looking for another solution that might work better to lessen the risk of fucking up my kids. I'm not going to win the game of never fucking up my kid. I'm fucked up and kids learn by example more than they ever could in textbooks. Except some kids who don't. Reading actually creates different versions of examples to follow so I'm excluding that from the book-learnin' statement.

One famous mom wrote that she never praised her kids for everyday actions like going to the bathroom and eating all their vegetables. I can see how that might work. Unfortunately, there is no way to definitively say that this lead to any specific part of their adult behaviours or happiness. 

I will never know what affect my actions actually have on my kids. I might get them presents to get some temporary joy, but then I risk having them equate happiness with material things. I may tell her that she's good at playing the piano, but she could still believe she's crappy at it or think she's the best thing ever. I may tell her she's beautiful and she'll believe it for the rest of her life. I will never know. 

Since I had my first baby, I knew I wanted her to love herself. I didn't know how to do that so I told her I loved her. I knew that kids learn what they see and live with, so that wasn't enough. I actually had to figure out how to love myself for real and not in the fake way I'd been doing for years. I had to change if I wanted her to have a chance. So I started peeling back the layers. I have found some love for myself, but I'm not quite there with loving me as a mom. It hurts a lot, and I want it so bad. This is  part of what makes me a good mom. 

We all have hurts from our parents. They didn't mean to hurt us. In fact, they were making the best decisions they could. They did nothing wrong. I have done nothing wrong. 

And thusly, I move one step closer to loving all of me, even mom-me. 

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I'm quirky, confident and happy. My friends say I'm generous, warm, reliable, and dependable. My mom, dad, and angel say I'm beautiful. I'm not perfect, but that makes me human.

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