Now raise your hand if you’re one of those parents who messes up on the regular and then beats themselves up over it. Me too!
As a mother who’s spent a cool decade replaying her greatest parenting misses on an continual loop each night before falling asleep, I’ve come to the self-preserving conclusion that kids do better with parents who mess up. Not only that, kids do better with parents who mess up and own it. I think I may have even figured out why.
I was raised with parents who could do no wrong in my eyes. While I’m sure they messed up all the time, I don’t remember that at all. What I do remember is stumbling upon the accidental conclusion in my early twenties that my parents were indeed human. What, what?! They were people who messed up sometimes. They were (gasp!) human.
By the time I was a young adult I was exhibiting textbook symptoms of anxiety, all on account of a personal pursuit of perfection. I’m not saying it was my parents’ fault – they never expected me to be perfect or void of error – but the perfection I perceived from my parents in large part became my model for living.
By the time I slipped into a black hole of depression at 28 and began the slow and tedious climb toward proper management of my anxiety, I realized the greatest gift I could give myself and my family was the permission to be human. What I didn’t know then was how this basic allowance would change my parenting.
I became a mother who owned up to her parenting failures maybe a little more than I should have because I wanted my kids to know that I recognized them. Whether I freaked out over things that didn’t deserve freaking, yelled too much, or dished out punishments that didn’t always fit the crime, as a person with limitations I owned them all. The hardest part involved figuring out how to learn from my mistakes before finally letting them go. If it sounds easy, I assure you it’s not for some of us.
I’m not perfect. I’m human. I care. I care about righting my wrongs, trying my best, and above all, I care about accountability especially to my children.
I want to be remembered as a caring and human parent not a perfect one.
Dear kids, it’s true that Mommy makes her share of mistakes, but maybe (just maybe) I get a little better each day for making them and dammit if I’m not trying.
Do you admit to your kids when you’re wrong?
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