Are You the Parent You Thought You Would Be?

Are You the Parent You Thought You Would Be?

Parenting GuiltYou visualized, fantasized, and daydreamed about the kind of parent you would be when your children were still just a twinkle in your eye.  The idea of having children was so exciting, and you couldn’t wait to hold them in your arms!

 

…and then they came and reality hit:

  • It’s more work than you imagined
  • It’s more tiring than you imagined
  • It takes way more patience than you imagined
  • It’s more emotional that you imagined
  • It’s more worrisome than you imagined
  • There’s so much more decision-making than you imagined
  • ….not quite the dream you envisioned!

 

I know.  You love them more deeply than you can express and wouldn’t give them up for the world.  BUT you can’t help questioning:

  • Why do I always feel like I’m falling short?
  • Where am I going wrong?
  • Why does this feel so hard?
  • Am I failing my kids?
  • Why do other parents seem to have it all together?
  • …Damn, why am I not the parent I thought I’d be?!

 

It’s a blow.  A blow to your precious ego; a blow to your self worth; a blow to the illusion of who you thought you were.

 

As it turns out, you’re not the fun mom AND you’re not the super mom you were sure you’d be. Where did you go wrong?  The guilt is all consuming at times and you wonder if you’re even cut out to be a parent.

 

But, here’s the deal.  You ARE cut out to be a parent…a good one even!  There are no Universal mistakes.  You are the parent that is best suited to your child.  Sure, we all may require some tweaking and fine tuning while we learn the art of being a parent…a soulful parent! BUT remember, you are exactly where you are meant to be, with exactly who you are meant to be with.

 

Sooo, you’re NOT the parent who:

  • Goes to the park with an arsenal of goodies, wet naps, snacks, blankets, etc.
  • Has fresh baked goods and a tray of veggies when you kids come home from school.
  • Eagerly signs up for every volunteer spot at your children’s school.
  • Joyfully chases your kids around on the playground.
  • Happily and patiently helps them with their homework.
  • Enjoys staying at home tending to their every need – meals, playdates, dr. appointments, etc.
  • Works or take classes during the day, and is “in the moment” and connected when at home.

 

You WANT to be this parent…but you’re just not!...not right now anyway (…and maybe never, which is okay too!)

 

It’s easy to look around at other parents and see the extraordinary parental feats they take on (seemingly effortlessly) and compare yourself.  Beware of this comparison trap.

 

You ARE the BEST parent for your child.  There are no mistakes.  The only “mistake” is where you are placing your focus.  Are you focusing on what you’re not doing and where your perceived weaknesses are?  Or are you focusing on what you are doing and where your strengths are?

 

Looking to other parents for inspiration is one thing, but when it becomes a comparison it takes the path of toxicity…not only for yourself, but for your children as well.  They need YOU, not who you think you SHOULD be.

 

All those things you think you “should” do, and who you think you “should” be…it’s time to refocus and re-evaluate.  It boils down to 3 choices:

 

  1. Turn it into a want – If it’s something you strongly want to do, and you keep hearing yourself say, “We really should have Friday family game night, ” then turn that “should” into a want…and just do it.  Don’t talk about it; don’t make excuses why you can’t; don’t let other things that come up derail it; don’t view it as just a nice idea.  If you want it bad enough, you’ll do it.  Period.

 

  1. Let it go – If it’s something you think you “should” want to do, but find that it’s just plain work and not all what you thought it’d be cracked up to be…let it go.  You need to come to terms and accept who you really are…not who you think you should be.  This just causes you to be hard on yourself and deprives your children of the fullness of who you really are.  That’s all they really want or need…not to mention this also gives them permission to be who they are.

 

  1. Accept what is – If it’s something that you truly want to do, however in trying to do it takes more effort and patience then it’s worth right now…maybe now’s just not the right time to put your focus there.  Depending on the stage of your children, as well as life circumstances, we sometimes need to accept what is and release our attachment to thinking we “should” do it now.  It doesn’t mean you will never do it or get back to doing it. It means that you need to accept and appreciate where you’re at now, while at the same time look forward to where you’re heading. Perhaps it means you need to be able to go with the flow of derailed plans and appreciate your child’s needs, OR it may mean that you need to take the time for some soul searching to determine your own needs.

 

Believe me…I get it.  I used to feel guilty and “less than, ” because I wasn’t a great baker and didn’t make the time for it.  I WANTED to be one.  I loved the idea of it, and was kinda envious of those who were good at it.  BUT when push came to shove, I didn’t enjoy the process of baking!  It wasn’t relaxing.  It just felt like work.  It was a should; definitely not a strong want.

 

As soon as I accepted and embraced this about myself, it took the charge out of seeing others who enjoyed and were good at baking. I could admire them instead of be envious of them.  I could make light of it.  I owned it…it no longer owned me!

 

Yep, I’m that mom who will bring bought desserts to your house (gasp!)…and I’m totally okay with that.  I no longer feel I have to live up to some standard that just didn’t work for me.

 

Does that make me a “lesser” parent?  Nope!  Not at all!  It makes me a REAL parent.  My kids don’t feel ripped off; they aren’t embarrassed by me (well, not for that anyway!).  From time to time my kids like to poke fun at my lack of baking finesse.  We all have a good laugh….and they learn to embrace what is and not take life too seriously. 

 

Now, taking them to Starbuck’s for a hot chocolate (Chai Tea Latte for me!), some relaxing reading time, and a heart to heart chat…I’m your gal!!!

 

Let go of how a parent “should” look, let go of the parent you thought you’d be, and embrace the parent you are!  You’re kids will be all the better for it.  Trust me!

 

Post below…Do you have parental guilt? Or are you embracing the parent you are?

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