When you feel like you’re failing mama, know that we ALL fail at parenting sometimes. But here’s what’s really important…
Today was a total parenting fail.
I had the afternoon free, so thought I’d enjoy the beautiful weather and visit my horse at her boarding barn.
As I was getting ready to leave, my 5-year-old jumped up, “I want to go too mommy!”
“Of course!” Secretly I’ve been hoping that one of my girls would catch the “horse bug” like me, so I am always thrilled when any of them want to tag along.
The trip there was perfect. We laughed, sang to my daughter’s favorite songs, and made it to the barn in good time.
And that was the highlight of our trip.
As soon as we got out of the car, things went downhill quickly.
My horse is 29 (an old lady in horse years) and decidedly stubborn. She was enjoying the pasture with her buddies and had no interest in getting a bath (what I had planned for our visit).
As I tried to coax Miss Goldie over to the gate, my daughter started crying. “There are flies out here Mommy! I’m scared of FLIES!” (We are in the “terrified of bugs” phase).
Did she want to go sit in the car and wait for me instead?
“No! I don’t want to be alone!”
How about sitting in the shade next to the tack room while I fetched Goldie?
“NO! There are chickens over there!”
My usually angelic daughter, likely still exhausted from her birthday the previous day, started to slip in to meltdown mode.
Meanwhile, my usually angelic horse wandered away to the far end of the pasture, watching with satisfaction. (She’s not always a brat, but today she was in rare form).
So I quit.
I made the decision NOT to chase my horse for as long as she felt like playing her game. I also decided not to give in to my daughter’s meltdown.
I didn’t yell. Didn’t argue. Didn’t try to force her to do what I wanted.
We simply got back in the car and went home.
Despite the fact that I didn’t lose my cool or give in to any temper tantrums, I still felt like I failed at parenting.
We All Fail at Parenting Sometimes
As we drove home from the barn, my daughter crying most of the way, I started to question my decision to leave.
Maybe I should have put my foot down.
What was I teaching her by leaving? Was it a sign of weakness on my part?
The whole trip seemed like a big waste of time.
I cranked up the music to drown out the crying (kidding, kidding) — but I did turn on some happy songs to try to lighten the mood.
And it just sort of hit me.
No one is perfect. And there is no ONE perfect decision in any situation.
We ALL fail at parenting sometimes.
Or are we actually failing after all?
Am I bad parent because I wanted to avoid a power struggle or full out crying meltdown?
I don’t think so — I’m tired too from the birthday planning, so if I wanted to take the path of least resistance today, then that was the BEST parenting decision for me in that moment.
We’re all just making the best decisions we can every day.
And each day might be different.
Our kids aren’t robots. They have thoughts, feelings, emotions — sometimes they are BIG emotions, and sometimes their opinions don’t go along with our expectations.
And that’s ok!
We’re not trying to raise robots, after all, we’re trying to raise independent thinkers who are going to be able to hack it in this big scary world when they’re adults.
When You Feel Like You’re Failing at Parenting, Remember:
We all fail. (Anyone who says they don’t is lying. Period.) Failing is a part of parenting.
We’ve ALL lost our cool before.
Every parent has yelled, and then later wished they hadn’t. It doesn’t make you a mean mom. It makes you human.
Each of us has taken the “easy” way out of a situation, to avoid a bigger tantrum or a scene. It doesn’t mean that you gave in or “lost” anything.
Our kids don’t always do what we want. They talk back, argue, debate, disobey, and cry. But that doesn’t mean we’re doing a bad job raising them.
We’ve all second-guessed a decision after the fact.
You’re not the only one who has plopped down on the couch at the end of the night with a glass of wine, feeling like you failed so hard.
But I’ll bet you also walk by their bedroom at the end of the night and peek inside, watching their sweet faces as they sleep and thanking God for blessing you as their mama.
And we ALL get up then next morning and do it all over again.
Because we love those stinkers with every ounce of our being.
And one day failing at parenting beats every other day before they came into your life.
I don’t know about you, but that is what keeps me going.
I love being their mama.
And I know you do too.
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