Parenting is one of those things that you can read about, ask about and try to perfect all you want, but guess what? You’re never going to be a perfect parent. It’s not possible. We are all too fabulously imperfect to ever become perfect parents. We all have moments of selfishness, moments of weakness and moments of, “Fine, here, eat the Halloween candy for breakfast and continue to dump all the shampoo and soaps on the bathroom counter because mommy just needs five minutes to finish getting ready.” Parenting is a skill; it’s just not one any of us will ever perfect – like a great French braid or perfect ponytail.
What I’ve learned in the past 5 years, 3 months and 11 days (with two little girls and a third baby of currently unknown gender on the way) is that my best parenting lessons come from my parenting failures.
Stroller Seatbelts are Important
As my husband and I wheeled our then only child, our 11 month old daughter, through the airport between flights in her state-of-the-art (read – way to expensive and ridiculous) stroller, we were feeling good. We were headed across the country for a week of relaxation and indulgence in the OC with our sweetie. This was not even close to her first flight, but it was once again another perfect flight for our perfect daughter (Pat on the back for being awesome parents…yes, we were giving ourselves that pat as we walked).
Unfortunately, while we walked, smug and on our high horse, through the airport, we neglected to notice within the noise that our sweet girl was hanging onto the stroller for dear life because she’d slid down the seat and halfway onto the ground. Um…parenting fail (and I’m only talking about it now because she was perfectly fine). Lesson and moral of this story – we are not perfect parents and those seat belts are there for a reason. Kudos to us, however, for always using them from that point forward.
I Miss My Kids More than They Miss Me
We try to take one good vacation and a few mommy/daddy nights a year without our little ones; the rest of our vacations are family trips. However, as excited as I get about these trips, I’ve realized that I push my fears and anxieties onto my kids.
I miss them; they miss me. They don’t miss me nearly as much as I miss them. I worry; they’re fine with their grandparents (They are the people, after all, who raised us (im)perfect parents). I cry myself to sleep missing them; they go to sleep early because grandma and grandpa took them to the library, the park, the zoo, the museum, outside to play and to get ice cream. They don’t cry when they hear my voice on the phone; they tell me they love me as fast as they can, slowing down only to ask if we are going to be bringing them presents, and then rush off to continue having the fun we so rudely interrupted. We pick them up after we land; they cry and beg to go back to grandma’s because grandma’s house is more fun.
I have a lot of stories that make me look like a horrible mom but that have taught me valuable lessons; parenting is a skill. No one is very great at it, but we’re all pretty darn good at it. Well, most of us. I see some parents on the news that probably aren’t so great. Lesson and moral of this story – don’t let your failures drag you down. Learn from them and become even more skilled at this always changing job.