I remember before I had kids. My love for children led me to multiple jobs with kids. Parents often asked me if I was getting my degree in teaching (I wasn’t) and complimented me on my kid skills. I was pretty sure I had this parenting thing wired. There were even a couple of times I was able to address behavioral problems that parents were having difficulty with. I was amazing. I was confident.
Then I had children of my own.
With other people’s kids I was great, but with my own little darlings… not so much. I found myself losing my patience. I yelled. I got overwhelmed. I dealt with several nasty bouts of postpartum depression. I let them watch TV *gasp*. Basically I discovered that mothering is hard, really hard.
And I just kept making it harder on myself. How? By hanging on to unrealistic expectations. I remembered my pre-child self and expected my post child self to be the same person, to be just as good with my own children as I am with a strangers.
I was missing a big part of the picture. For one, I was missing the fact that I am with my children Every. Single. Day. *big breath* All. Day. Long. I don’t get a break to recharge. I can’t be expected to have an infinite supply of patience. Second, I was missing that I love my kids a whole lot more than I love someone else’s kids (although I did love the kids I worked with). This makes everything more personal, my emotional response to my children’s misbehavior is completely different from my emotional response to another child. Learning to temper that response isn’t an overnight thing. I’m a work in progress. I have to give myself the chance to figure this thing out, because I won’t do it perfectly right from the get go.
I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. I often focus so hard on the achievement part of the journey that I forget to take a step back and enjoy where I am right now, because where I am right now is not only enough it’s wonderful, even when where I am right now feels like a step backwards.
I love this quote from President Gordon B Hinckley.
“Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort.”
Whether you are religious or not I think that quote is inspiring. It challenges all of us to accept our own best efforts, to accept ourselves, right now, where we are on our journey today.Tweet: Our quest for bettering ourselves shouldn’t come at the cost of our own happiness.
The fact is, during the parenting journey we will all mess up, we will all have days we aren’t proud of, but if we dust ourselves off and get back up, we can still be happy with who we are now.
I’m all full of quotes today, but here’s another one that I love by Mary Anne Radmacher
“Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
My positive affirmations for sons and daughters are still some of my most popular posts, but today I was thinking that sometimes I need some positive affirmations as well. So I’ve created another free printable (for noncommercial use) that is specifically for mothers. I hope it brightens your day and reminds you that you are OK wherever you are on your journey today. If you want to print it out and hang it up, please do, I would be honored.
Affirmation: I love my children without limit – I am strong – strong enough to weather any storm – I give myself permission to make mistakes – and I will make mistakes – after, I will apologize – and start over – I accept myself where I am right now – I am a mother