I recently read some blog posts about topics for mom and parenting blogs to write about. I was working on mapping out some ideas and doing some brainstorming for future blog posts. A lot of them said the usual stuff; write about your proudest day as a parent, your biggest parenting success and of course, your biggest parenting failure.
“What is your biggest parenting success?”
Needing a starting point, I compiled a list of topics I wouldn’t mind writing about at some point. And would you believe that in my opinion, the hardest one to write about was going to be my biggest parenting success? My biggest parenting success. I couldn’t even tell you where I would start. As parents, how are we even supposed to answer that question? In my head, it was easier to write about my biggest parenting failures, because we all feel like failures at one point or another, right? Or, you know, on the daily.
I could write a page a mile and a half long about my parenting failures! My temper and patience are too short. I work too much. I don’t spend enough quality time with my son. I don’t make enough money to give my son the things he needs. I don’t make enough wholesome, homemade meals. I don’t teach my son enough or give him the proper tools to learn. My son needs new shoes and I still haven’t gone to the store. He fell and whacked his ear, and somehow it must be my fault. He doesn’t talk yet or he won’t sleep through the night. He doesn’t eat his vegetables and eats too many fruits. I mean really, the list goes on and on. But ask me to write about my parenting success?
“I don’t know, my son’s alive?”
I’ve somehow managed to keep my son alive? He hasn’t broken a bone or needed any stitches? We haven’t been to the emergency room since he was two months old for anything other than a 103.5 fever? I taught him how to sit up, crawl, walk, run and jump. I made it through almost 370 consecutive days without killing my son, myself, my boyfriend or anyone else due to an unimaginable amount of stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and frustration??? Okay, that last one is a big one!
The saddest part? In my head, these are all little things. These are all so tiny and insignificant that they don’t even feel like successes. I’m like scraping the bottom of the barrel here! This is the best I could come up with! There is no grand, miraculous success that I have had other than keeping my son alive, day in and day out! It’s easy to be hard on yourself as a mom or dad. It’s easy to look at everything you do and just brush it off and say you’re doing your best.
“Eh! It’s no big thang!!! I do this all day long, every single day!”
I will sit there at the end of a day and just beat myself senseless, worrying about whether or not I loved my son enough or if I was patient enough or if I taught him enough. I will go through all the things I did and find every single thing I did wrong before I even think about everything I did that was right! It’s easy to minimize it all. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t criticize myself and let all the tiny, insignificant things I’ve done wrong completely outweigh and crush all the good I’ve done.
And I got so wrapped up in all of that, I wasn’t even going to write a blog post about my biggest parenting success. I couldn’t even bring myself to think so highly of myself as a mom that I deserved to showcase how awesome I was. I didn’t deserve that kind of recognition, even from myself. It was too big, too showcase-like for me to sit there and talk about how great of a parent I was, because that’s just not me. But then I stopped myself, and I really thought about it, and I stopped beating myself up and stopped making myself feel so small. And I really asked myself;
“What is your biggest parenting success?”
As moms and dads, I think- No, I know! I know that as parents we are way too hard on ourselves; forget about each other. You want to tear me down and tell me how bad I’m doing as a parent or what I’m doing wrong? Go ahead. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t already thought or wondered about myself. You can’t tell me I’m doing anything wrong because I already know I’m doing stuff wrong and I’ve already come to terms with that. We are way too mean to ourselves. We get so stuck in this routine of just constantly brushing everything off and chalking it up to that this is our job and we are supposed to do it, so we don’t deserve any recognition. We are so hell-bent on that we must be doing something wrong, because we can’t possibly be doing everything right.
So I told myself I was going to write this blog post, even if it was the last thing I did. Even if it took me all day long. And you know what? I’m so glad I did.
My biggest parenting success is that I have created a beautiful, incredible, amazing life from nothing. My body created this tiny little human from almost scratch and brought him into this world without even a scratch on him. And on the day my son was born, his father told me I had done an amazing job, I did so well. Even on the day my son was born I couldn’t take a compliment or think too highly of myself. I told him I hadn’t done anything; I had gone through a c-section. I hadn’t brought a baby into this world. Someone else had done it for me. And he said to me;
“You made a baby…”
“You made a beautiful baby and brought him safely into this world.”
And once my body was done creating a beautiful baby, full of life, happy and healthy, and bringing him into this world safely, I protected that small, fragile, defenseless life with everything I had and made him into the wonderful little man he is today. He is so spunky, and bossy, and strong-willed beyond repair. He is so full of life, so beautiful and happy. He is so unbelievably kind and sweet and such a lover and little helper. And I still can’t believe most days that I made something so extraordinary. That by far is my greatest parenting success, and it always will be. And it should always outweigh every single small failure, no matter how large the pile of failures becomes. No matter how many times I lose my temper. No matter how many times I think I haven’t done enough. I made a little human, and every day I help him grow a little more and get to watch him become such an amazing human being.
As parents, we should be kinder to ourselves and think a little better of ourselves. It’s no wonder we can’t effectively love and support other parents. All you ever hear about is how someone judged another parent, or didn’t stand up a help a struggling mom or dad. We have to love ourselves fully before we can ever expect to love and support anyone else.