Yesterday I felt cornered. Sort of. I had coffee with a new acquaintance (she can achieve friendship status almost instantly because, well, coffee), and she asked to ‘hear my story’. I tried to keep it as brief as possible as I relayed situations and occurrences in my life that had not been pretty, and then revealed the beauty that resulted from the ugliness.
At the end of our rather lengthy conversation, which was initially a ‘quick cup of coffee’, she told me I was a really good mom.
My children have been known to tell me the same – and since I am also ‘dad’ all the time, I also have Father’s Day cards claiming that I couldn’t be a better father, even if I were a man.
I am deeply honored by all of this – that an acquaintance, and my children, could see me as such a successful parent.
But I am not. I don’t say that lightly, and I certainly don’t say it falsely – I do not secretly have this huge ego that says that I definitely am a good mom, and parent.
A lot of my parenting methods fall short of guidelines and advice on all the parenting sites that are so easily accessible these days. I also fall short of real-life examples as I look around me, and see what some mothers and fathers do for their children; and I realize that ‘in that particular area’, when compared to them, I have failed.
But here’s what I know.
The writers of the articles, the doctors behind ‘medical research’, the other parents I come into contact with….none of them are me.
And none of them are parenting my children.
And none of their examples/children are the exact clone of mine.
As a mother, and a father, the best I can do is to do my best. That is all my children actually need. When I fail, or read something that says I should be doing things differently, I can try and learn to be better, but also need to remember that their methods are their own, and may not work in my situation. That is what needs to be striven for. Being better than what you think is your best. Learning and growing with your children. Try, try again. And again.
You see, there isn’t actually a secret to ‘better parenting’, and there certainly isn’t a Parenting 101 that will make it easier and better and more beneficial – or make you the most successful parent in your town.
There is you. Your commitment to your children means constantly trying to improve yourself for their benefit. And teaching them the greatest lesson of all in life : When you get knocked down, or you make a mistake; you get up again, and you try…again!
Parenting tips, parenting advice, parenting examples: they’re not bad, and there’s nothing wrong with them. Unless you cast them in stone and think you’ve failed if you don’t follow them to the tee. I go back to : they’re not you and they don’t have your kids.
Parenting is tough, whether you’re doing it alone, as a couple, or as two separate parents. It is tough. Do your best, and strive to be better, and you’ll be okay!
I end with this very amusing video that had me laughing so much that my cheeks hurt. Welcome to my world: as a mom, and as a woman who suffers from overprotective dad syndrome!