Thursday, January 19, 2017

Parenting: Not All Sunshine & Butterflies

Real life photo - no filter
I know we try to always put our best face forward. Especially when posting in a public forum. We share the happy moments, the fun outings, the pretty pictures of our kids and homes. And when things aren't going so pretty, we just deal with them behind the scenes. Okay, most people. I've mostly given up on Facebook as it seems more and more people overshare and use it as a place to rant.

With that said, I have something to share. I made a conscious decision to keep this blog positive. There is a ALOT of negativity out in the world. I wanted this to be a small space of happy. When things started not being so happy, I stopped posting. I detached myself from my online presence, and my in person friends.

I'm making more of an effort to start connecting again. With these connections, I find that a lot of moms I know share my story. Maybe you can relate too?

When my kids were little, I thought I was doing pretty okay as a mom. My kids were reasonably well behaved. The had manners and said thank you. I had my mom-fails but they were young and seemed to be resilient. They got along well with others and made friends. I made sure they knew they were loved. I encouraged them to be themselves and tried to make sure they didn't try to change to impress others. I'm sure they can both recite back my "pep talks" by memory.

Now, they are older and I have more and more days where I think maybe I really messed up. I tried so hard to always hold on to an even temperament (not so successful some days.) As a friend and I discussed we were always "fine" even when we weren't. I thought I was being reassuring, but I think instead when they are feeling not "fine", they believe something is wrong with them. I didn't give a good example of how to handle their emotions. I probably justified "signs" that things weren't going well with a rationale of hormones, middle school drama, high school pressure, etc. Why? Because as previously stated, I don't do emotions well. I have a super high, gargantuan wall around them. Built to be durable and withstand mighty attacks. (Yeah, yeah, I have my own childhood issues)

Now they each are finding their own challenges and some days I think to myself that maybe I'm not really so good at this parenting thing. I wonder if anyone is really a great parent. We work hard to not make the same mistakes our parents did, and instead we make new ones.

My point is, I don't have all the answers. I'm pretty sure no one does. And I'm also pretty sure that those who think they do are just mistakenly confident or very deluded. I'm going to stick by one of the same pep talks I give my kids. You are doing okay as long as you are doing your very best. So, each day, each situation, I will just need to ask myself if I'm doing my best.

I turned out more or less okay, so hopefully my kids will survive their childhood as well and go on to become healthy, happyish adults who can torture themselves over raising their own children. No rush on that last part!