Why I’m a Great Mom and Just an OK Parent
By GG Renee of All The Layers
I have recently come to the conclusion that I’m an awesome mother and just an OK parent. You see, the love part is easy to me. I’ve always been a lover, a nurturer and a source of comfort to my friends and family. My partner and I have three children and I love being a mom – supporting my children, protecting them and showering them with affection. But I have to admit that I don’t like parenting. In this context, I’m talking about parenting in terms of issuing rules and regulations, constantly lecturing and berating, and instilling fear in them to control their behavior. I don’t like it, it drains me and quite honestly I wish I could delegate it to someone else. I wish I could just let my kids be who they are without having to restrain them, but I realize that they need boundaries.
I was only 24 when I had my first child, and I recall being terrified when the hospital released me into the world with this little bundle of life. Not only was I a single mom, I was also very immature and naive about the world. Although I had a degree and a good job, from an emotional and financial perspective, I felt like a kid. Prior to having a child, I thought of myself as lazy and unreliable. Of course, this perception was skewed by the low self-esteem and self-destructive behavior that defined my late teens and early twenties. I didn’t feel that I took such great care of myself, so I questioned how in the world I would manage to take care of a helpless baby that needed constant attention and care. Despite my fears, my natural instincts kicked in and I embraced being a mother. I loved my child with a passion that I’d never experienced before and that love really fueled me to take better care of myself for the benefit of my child.
Then my baby started to grow up. I had to learn to discipline him. I had to learn when it was time to nurture and when it was time to scold. When does he need tough love? How do I avoid spoiling him? And then four years later there were two babies. I was awed to discover that this immeasurable love could multiply. But then more uncertainty settled in. I still didn’t know which end was up in terms of my relationship, and here we were with another baby. I questioned my ability to teach them the right things. In other words, how would I teach them to not do the dumb things I had done? How would I teach them to be better than me, when I was still figuring out how to better myself? These thoughts clouded my mind with self-doubt and parenting anxiety.
As I started talking about my feelings, I gleaned from other parents that we all wonder if we are doing things the right way. We lose sleep, we pray, and we beat up on ourselves – worrying that we are doing too much or not enough. And how do we measure success? When they become straight A students? When they go to college? When they avoid the pitfalls of drugs and crime? When they become successful in their careers? Is there a right or wrong way to do this parenting thing to get the “results” we want and not screw up our kids? Over time, I’ve accepted that there are no clear answers or universal definitions of what works. So, maybe we should just love our children, accept ourselves for the parents we are and accept our children for the people they become?
I want to give my children an upbringing that supports authenticity and self-love because these are things that I struggled with well into adulthood. I don’t accept the idea that I should be molding them into some prototype of excellence. I won’t “overparent” my kids to the extent that they feel the need to be something they are not in order to please me or anyone else. They have to find their own truths. They must learn to problem solve on their own, to bounce back from mistakes and to accept consequences. We are here to help them find their way, not necessarily to force them to go our way.
What do you think? How has your personal journey of self-discovery affected the way that you raise your kids?
Thank you GG for sharing this fabulous post!