When I had kids, all I could think about is not screwing them up. I defined screwing them up as them not feeling loved, not knowing how to love, not knowing how to feel good about themselves, making them feel they are not enough, or making them feel sad or unwanted.
My definition came from how I felt as a kid. Although my mom loved me and sacrificed so much for me, I still did not know self love, self worth, or have self esteem. I never felt enough or if I belonged.
Who knew the path that my life was going to take? I would never have imagined having 4 kids of my own and 2 step kids. I look back at the journey of motherhood, and I remember the fears of screwing up my kids.
I was always trying to be the “perfect” parent, with no understanding of what perfect meant. I questioned myself all the time. I used my kids as a measurement tool to see if I was a good parent. If they made mistakes, got into trouble, got detention, or was rude to an adult, yep.. I was not a good mom. The guilt I felt, the self beating I put myself through, led me to give in, judge, blame, shame and take away the feeling of being enough for my older boys.
When God gave me a “do over” with blessing me with twins, years later, I realized I had an opportunity to do better, to it right and to be perfect. The problem was I still didn’t know “perfect.”
So, I learned. I learned that there is no perfect. There is no expert. There is no “best practice.” What there is, is compassion, love, kindness, understanding, appreciation, and forgiveness. That is what I was here to do. I was here to guide my kids to be the best version of them, not the best version of me. They were not an object I owned. They did not validate me as a mom or a person.
I do not believe in labeling parenting (conscious, helicopter, etc.) as parenting is not a thing we do, or a style, it is a behavior. Our behavior either allows us to guide or dictate. It is our behavior that will support them to be the person they were born to be without restrictions or obstacles we put on them. It is our behavior that will guide them to be in tune to their emotions and learn how to react, respond and sometimes repair. When we take away the judgement of our parenting or our kids behavior, it is only then we are able to influence them and advise them. When our kids feel safe, they will open up. They will share with you and ask you for help.
As many of us that teach parenting, that are looked upon as an expert, I am here to say, YES, I am an expert at making mistakes, reacting, responding and repairing. I have taught and continue to teach my kids about what they feel and to not judge the emotion. I give them space to feel it. I allow them to see me have my emotions and not judge them. How we show up, will be how our kids show up. Emotions are not bad, they are here to serve us, guide us and give us a gift.
Being a person who has specialized in learning about behaviors, I have the ability to see what the behavior is saying and the cause. If you want to reshape the behaviors that are undesirable, you must first get to the cause, or the behavior will not change. I am still learning each day. My kids are constantly teaching me. There are days I still yell. There are days, I lose my mind. There are days, I question myself. In all of the those days, I celebrate the growth I get and my kids get.
Perfection is not a measurement. Perfection does not even exist. It is a thought of comparing something to someone else’s standard. What if you only had your standard to compare your parenting to? Could you do better? Yes, we all can. We are the ones that decides what is better. Each child is different. They all receive information differently and they are all respond or react differently. When we have an illusion the perfect exist, we then pass that illusion on to our kids, which creates the feeling of not good enough. Celebrate them, where ever they are at. If you feel they can do better, 1st ask them if they want better?
If you take anything away from this article, I hope it is, you are doing it perfectly for you and your kids.
We are all the imperfect, perfect parent.