I have a confession… Although I admire moms like Michelle Duggar and many of the homeschooling moms in my social circle, I am nothing like them. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there were days when I thought that I’d bake cookies with the kids every day and we’d read deep books and have thoughtful discussions, but somehow life seemed to encroach and it never happened. Now that my girls are 20 and 17, I realize that I made a lot of mistakes. A LOT. And, talking to other moms out there, I know I’m not alone in feeling inadequate and as though I’ve failed at times.
Just a Handful of My Mistakes to Make You Feel Better About Yourself
Trust me, when it comes to momfailure that I probably have you beat. Here are just a few of the things I’ve done:
- Cried with my baby when she wouldn’t stop crying. Real grown up, right?
- Lied to my kids on occasion so I didn’t have to have their friends over, because I was tired and just didn’t want to deal with another kiddo in my home that day. Yep, not baking any cookies those days either.
- Accused my daughter of faking an injury because I thought she was trying to get out of tumbling and not being committed to her team.
- Forced my oldest to be friends with a girl who was mean to her, because I thought it would make things better even though I knew my daughter couldn’t stand her.
- Acted like a brat on vacation because I didn’t want to go there and it was sucky.
- Spent three years investing in other people’s children by teaching youth group and neglected the thus, while not intentional, neglected the spiritual growth of my own children. On top of that, my kids had to deal with the problems most ministry kids deal with and didn’t have a youth director to go to and discuss what they were facing. Smart move, Mom.
Add to that the times I’m grumpy because I’m that way and you get the picture.
Despite Our Mistakes
Even though I made those and many other mistakes while my girls have grown up, I also did a few things right.
- I took them to church.
- I prayed for each of them and their future spouses every day.
- I didn’t let them get by with murder and disciplined when necessary.
- I told them I loved them and gave them hugs even when they weren’t lovable.
- I promised them ice cream so I could trap them in the car and thus have a good “talk” about whatever concerned me at the moment. At least until they caught on and started refusing ice cream. Took them a while, though, and I can still get them with the promise of a Polar Pop. Guess what? Polar Pops are cheaper than ice cream. Ha! Who wins that one, kids? Mom.
- We laughed at silly stuff.
- We spent time vegging out on the couch and watching Mean Girls 9,000 times in a row.
- I stood up for them when they needed me to.
- I was there. I was present. I invested in them even though I didn’t do so perfectly.
Guess what? I have two amazing, smart, beautiful, independent young women who care about others and have individual personalities and abilities that were developed over many years.
Are there things I’d do differently? I’d probably INTEND to do them differently, but ultimately we all make mistakes as parents. Even those families who look so perfect from the outside make mistakes with their children.
Put your faith first, love your children, do the best you can, admit your mistakes when you make them, apologize to your children when needed, hug them, be honest, let them begin to grow up, but be tough when they need you to; at the end of the day you can look in the mirror and know you did everything you could and God chose YOU to be this child’s mother and you are the best thing for him/her. That makes you the best parent in the world for this particular child, so stop beating yourself up so much.