I am NOT a perfect parent. Some days I don’t even think I pass as a good parent. With the nagging, and yelling, and pleading I swear there are moments where an innocent bystander on the side of the road could fill in for me and do better then I could. The pressures of being everything our children need every second of the day is both unattainable and insupportable. Perfect images of a mom doing it all – being a cook, chauffeur, best friend, nurse, you name it – have been ingrained in our minds since we were little girls. Then we grow up and the desire to be perfect swells even more – magazines, parenting books, our own acquaintances – make us feel inferior and as if we are failing on a daily basis. Couple in the stressors of every day life, marriage, and work, it’s no wonder that failure seems to slap us in the face constantly. The desire to be perfect, to attend every school function, to cook every meal at home, to watch every sporting event spreads us thin even more…and eventually, we begin to crack. To top it all off, we seem to think everyone else around us is handling the madness of parenthood without batting their eye, making us feel even worse for that moment when we secretly sit in our car and daydream of traveling far away to some beach BY OURSELVES. Come on, you know you’ve dreamt of that before, don’t lie.
No one explains to you how difficult parenting can be. When you announce your pregnancy, the world is glowing with rave reviews of how amazing motherhood is, of how fulfilling raising a child is. And all of those things are true and breathtaking, BUT, no one shares with us the difficulties that also come with the honor of being a parent; the self-doubt, the fear, the uncertainties. Nor does anyone say that feeling these things are OK, that they are NORMAL, that they TOO felt that way. If only we would discuss BOTH sides of parenthood, I think more moms would be better equipped to handling the good and bad of being a mom. We would celebrate one another more rather then holding ourselves in competition with one another, or worse, in comparison to one another. We are all doing what is best for our children (or so we hope), and though how we parent may inherently be different from one another doesn’t mean that one way or the other is right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse. Raising a child is the ultimate sacrifice, yet it doesn’t mean we should sacrifice ourselves for our children on a daily basis. We must take time for ourselves so that we can recharge and be that rock, that cuddle partner, that parent that our children need, want and deserve. When we learn to accept that some days we will fail as parents and can acknowledge that some days we will NOT be perfect parents (that we aren’t supposed to be perfect), then those moments where we feel like it will never get easier and that it will never go smoothly, will become less and less because we KNOW that parenthood is cyclical and that the bad will go and the good will return. The joy of our children’s laughter, the sparkle in their eyes, the sweetness of their scent will pull us out of our beach reverie and into the warmth of our children’s love for us….our shortcomings and all.