It is impossible to live your life without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case you fail by default. ~J.K.Rowling
Failure is an inevitable part of life. It is how we learn, how we grow and transform. Yet in parenting, failure is often not an option we’re willing to tolerate. We’re afraid of the consequences of us messing up as a parent. We’re afraid of screwing up. So we try to be perfect at all times, we second guess our decisions and choices, we criticize ourselves for every little misstep hoping this will keep us in line, doing better next time.
Parenting is a perfectionism trap – we simply can’t measure up to our own expectations of doing it all and doing it perfectly all the time.
Everyone wants to be a good parent. Yet, without failure there’s no learning, no growth – it’s through the struggles that we become stronger.
No one was born knowing how to be a perfect parent. Sure, some of us had better role models to learn from than others, but parenting is a hands on learning gig. You learn as you go. And the best learning is done through failure.
I’ve always struggled with failure. I’m a perfectionist, an over-achiever, a capable and independent A-type go-getter. So when I fall, I tend to hit the floor HARD.
My hardest struggles are around parenting. Here, I second-guess my decisions and actions, and spin into worst case scenarios and dreadful what-ifs way too often. Am I doing this right? WILL THEY BE RUINED FOR LIFE? I suck at this! Why can’t I be a better mom? I should have more patience! How have I not see that coming? I should have done it differently!…
Parenting can be such a minefield, if you let yourself go down that rabbit hole.
As a parent of three kids-which admittedly can be a challenge often-I harbor lots of self-doubt and self-criticism. It’s not a healthy approach and I know I need to work on that. I have to work on it because I’m tired of not giving myself the support I need. I’m tired of putting myself down. I’m tired of not believing in myself, I’m tired of doubting my intentions, I’m tired of beating myself up over the smallest missteps. I’m tired of all the bullshit that I’m putting myself trough.
I am human. I make mistakes. I often behave in ways I’m not proud of, ways I never want to repeat. And I’m working on it. I’m doing my best and I need to acknowledge that.
I try to accept failure as an inevitable part of my life, which takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. But it’s hard.
Last year I decided to be more accepting, to focus on the good things, to accept that while my life is not perfect it’s the best one for me. I’ve got a shitload to be thankful for. And I have been.
This year is about supporting myself, loving myself unconditionally, being my own best friend. No more confidence busting I-should-haves or self-defeating I-could-haves. This year I’m not putting myself through a wringer because I yelled at the kids at dinner time. I’m not beating myself up for devouring half a pint of rocky road ice cream. I’m not going to mull over every bit of a decision I made that left someone upset or hurt. I’m letting go of trying to control the outcome.
I’m focusing on being good enough, instead of perfect.
Parenting can be overwhelming and exhausting. We only have so much strength, patience & willpower on any given day.
Sometimes life demands more than I can offer and I’m going to fall. But I’ll keep getting up to try again, doing my best to support myself with love and compassion. And that’s good enough for me.