See it would be nice if the family we raised when they were finally adults were actually pretty much full on perfect. Would it not?
Then the stories your friends tell you about their children and how wonderful they are would be stories you could hear and not tell yourself in your own mind, over and over, that you could have done better.
The strange thing is that perfection is just a perception. What one family has as a strength another misses and what one family misses another haves and in the end we are all just who we are doing what we do and working hard at it.
Being passionate about raising children makes the job harder. If we didn’t care it would be SO easy. We could be selfish, impatient, passive, tolerant…..
Yet love is a strange thing too… it fires up motivation in a hearth gone cold. It brings out the best and worst in us and drives us on.
So when the storm comes…. Allow yourself to change the conversation in your head from “What have I done wrong here?” to ….. Ok here is an opportunity to learn again… here is an opportunity for a deeper relationship with this child….
Its not easy… with young children it is more cut and dried…. With teens it is more complicated… so many elements can come into play….
It helps to stay focused in these moments. What is the one thing I want to preserve here? What is the one thing I want to communicate?
Recently I had this experience with one of my beautiful adult children who I love with all my heart…. So upset…. And my heart was fully focused on having this child know that they were loved completely and maintaining my relationship there. It was hard.. It was like all the emotions, fear and pain were swirling around in my head and yet my heart held those intentions clearly… thought it didn’t seem clear in some moments in the midst of that swirling… so consuming it is.
Parenting is a hard gig as my friend used to say and it is. I was pondering the other night as we do wondering if I would in this lifetime break through all my inner barriers to live my purpose as I wish to and my inner voice said…. Very quietly but very definitely
“ You lived your purpose raising your family… that was a strong and clear purpose” and it is true. I loved every moment of that even the difficult ones looking back. I did not do a perfect job by any means. Yet I have a family that loves…. A family that holds values very strongly… an empathic family.. A caring and generous family and I am truly grateful.
So… when the days get dark and it seems like you are not making progress with one or more of your children. Hold fast. Breathe and know that you are doing your absolute best in that moment… I know you have heard that a thousand times but it is true and I will share this story with you that always warms my heart.
When our two eldest were little I went to visit a neighbour. We had both just experienced a personal growth seminar. I was talking about the mother I wanted to be, how I wanted this and that and spoke at length about it with passion and enthusiasm. She listed patiently. Her children had left home. Then she said “ Catherine it is a beautiful thing that you want to be all those things for your children…. And you will do and be all of that but I can guarantee you that even so… there will come a day when you will be alone at home, cleaning your oven and through the door will blast one or all of your children… they will put their hands on their hips and they will say “ Well thanks a lot mum, for FUCKING up my life”. She said.. No matter what you do… one or more of them will say that. We all have wounds to heal, beliefs to change if we want to grow and no matter what we do as mothers we cannot save them that.
This story keeps me going and makes me laugh when times get tough. So I hope you can use this one too. To encourage you and help you to see that striving to be perfect is exhausting and doing your best is enough. It truly is.