Who wants the perfect parent anyway...cliche...cliche...cliche....
No greater challenge then the art of parenthood. Who has the secret formula? I need it all! But seriously shit gets tough. Even with all the skills I have obtained through my career, I still find myself lost, frustrated, and often times overwhelmed. Today was one of those days. God has a funny way of reminding me that it is not my education that allows me to raise my children, it is those organic moments that gives me the ability to master the craft.
There are times I find myself wanting to be isolated or run away from the responsibility of it all. The humanness of those thoughts keep me grounded. Raising "people" is one of the most demanding, sacrificial roles you will ever play. The great thing is that you have a million times to try to get it right.
My oldest daughter Kennedy, 8, is at a milestone in life where she wants to mark her independence. I believe this has everything to do with her starting puberty. She can be emotional, needy, and mouthy all in the same breathe. Her good days outweigh her bad, but her bad can feel overwhelming. Today was not the day. I had a long day in the community, driving from one end of the town to the other, working with families that everyone else has failed to help. When arriving home I noticed that on a math test she put in minimum effort. I know this because I know my child and she is a math genius. When questioning her I could already tell the evening was not going to go well. She felt attacked, and maybe that was warranted, but it set the tone for the rest of the day. Later in the evening I noticed she was not taking care of her skin as need be, she has really bad eczema, and a very strict skin routine. I immediately questioned her. All her guards went up, and as she began to cry, she states "you don't care about me". That statement triggered me. I was so upset that she would say such a false statement when I just spent my entire day, my entire life, dedicated to making sure she knew how much I cared. I got argumentative and punished her. At that point her father stepped in because he is often the level headed one, and tagged me out for a break.
I was so angry, how dare she say I don't care, I work my ass off, right? I resented her in that moment. Shout out to all my single mothers/fathers who can't tag a partner to step in, you are amazing. When my husband checked in, I begin to check out. During my check out I started to self reflect. Self reflection is key when parenting because it brings you to a conscious level of parenting. I had the ability to recognize my part in it all. Was she a easy target for my bad day? How could I have approached her to get my point across in a more sensitive manner? Does she really believe I don't care, or is she a 8 year old whose reactions can be irrational? All these questions placed me back to when I was her age, and would fight back, only to realize it was at those moments I just wanted more love.
After she sat with her father, and I had some special playtime with Karter, I knew we both needed each other. She got ready for bed, I went into her room and asked if she would sit on my lap. I first begin by apologizing. This can be hard for parents, because we always feel like we are right. But to model forgiveness for our children is so empowering it's necessary. I begin to tell her the errors in my ways as well as hers. I wanted her to know that we were both flawed, equally. I never want my daughter to feel she has to be perfect or that her mommy is perfect, but I want her to know that she has to try her best. No one can argue with best. I also wanted for her to understand the difference between caring, and challenging her to be/do better. It is my job as her mother to want the best for her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Challenging her is not fighting with her, it's simply knowing as her mother her potential. We ended with a long tight hug, lots of affirmations, and encouraging one another. I will always be her mother, she will always have the role of my daughter, perfect never, growing always.
It is okay if they fall, binge on TV, have a piece of candy or three, eat fries at McDonalds, so on and so forth. It's about creating a balance. Life is surrounded by mistakes, it's the pedestal of growth. We have to allow our children to see us at those vulnerable moments, because perfection is not the goal, getting back up is.