The Only Parenting Resolution You Need to Make
There have been times in my motherhood career when I have felt like giving up.
You know the times, don't you? The vacations you have carefully planned, only to have everyone fall sick at the last minute? The picture-perfect holiday you worked so hard to create, only to have kids throwing tantrums on Christmas morning and the power going out, so there goes the holiday ham? Or those long afternoons home alone with babies that seem to stretch on forever?
But the moments when I feel the most overwhelmed are when I start to contemplate my shortcomings as a mom.
When I start doubting the decisions I have made to work or not to work.
When I question if I'm doing the right things for the “big ticket” questions like vaccinations, breastfeeding, attachment parenting.
And especially when I wonder if I'm being the type of mother that my children need.
The truth is that I often feel enormous pressure as a mother — like the weight of all of my children's lives rests solely on my shoulders. I mean, how many of us are quick to blame our own mothers for many of the issues we deal with in life?
My mom is the reason why I have body image issues, why I can't cook, why I have trouble talking about my feelings, why I drink too much, why I blah, blah, blah …
Mothers are, more often than not, our first introduction to the world around us. They are, in a very literal sense, the world around us from the moment we first sprout in their wombs, so in a way, seeing the world through the lenses that our mothers have created for us makes absolute sense.
But that's also a whole lot of pressure for one person to carry.
When I start thinking about all the responsibilities I have as a mother and the million and one ways I could royally screw up my kids' lives, it usually doesn't have the intended effect of spurring me on to being a better mom. In fact, the opposite is usually true. I tend to get so worried and worked up that I'm likely to crack under the pressure, sink into depression, pull away from the very kids I am trying to love.
So for this New Years, I am not shying away from the job that has been placed upon me in molding and shaping my children's lives because it will always be there.
But I am vowing to give myself a little more credit — and a whole lot more forgiveness.
Because I am only one person.
I am one person, and my children are each their own persons — with their own make-ups, personalities, struggles, and interests. It's silly to think that I can be all things to each one of them. But what I can be is someone to help guide them in this journey of life by teaching them the most important lesson that, apparently, I am still learning every day —
Forgive and forget, but never, ever give up.
What's your New Year's parenting resolution?