What is a perfect parent?
Excuse me for a second… BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Oh wait, you’re serious?
Well my friend the answer is none. Not a damn one is perfect. Behind every parent is a mountain of screw-ups. My oldest will be three next month and I have made enough mistakes to last a lifetime and it’s just the beginning, this is the “easiest” part of parenting. Everywhere my kids go I know about it, I know who they are with and what they are doing but one day I won’t. One day they won’t tell me where they are, who they are with or when they will be home. One day they will be grown up, living outside of the house, and I just have to trust they are alright and that is terrifying. I pray the mistakes I have made and will make won’t screw them up forever.
Over the past few years some have been small mistakes like giving ice cream too close to bedtime so she’s up till all hours, or forgetting to give her Tylenol before she gets her shots. Others have been larger like forgetting to buckle in the car seat (boy I still feel awful about that one). I’ve lost her in the store for a few moments (she likes to hide in the clothes racks). Then there are those days where the kids won’t stop crying, won’t sleep, whining about every. Damn. Thing. I have lost my ever loving shit. I’ve yelled, some days I feel like that’s all I do. I have caught myself getting nasty too; to the point where I have to make a conscious effort to keep myself in check. I’m human and there are limits to everyone’s patience, especially when sleep deprived.
When I catch myself going into bad mommy territory that’s when I know I need to give myself a time-out, take a breather, and try again. I personally don’t like the cry-it-out method (you do you though) but some days I have hit as much as I can possibly take and I gotta let them sit for a few minutes to get my shit together. Like when it is 5 in the morning after being up for 4.5 hours with a crying baby who won’t sleep something has to give. Otherwise you catch yourself in your room, in the middle of the night, overwhelmed, crying, wishing the baby would just shut the fuck up and go to sleep; you might even tell them that if you don’t give yourself a breather. Then you feel deeply ashamed for acting that way. I’m guilty of that; that was me last week actually. Turns out my littlest squish popped a random tooth in the middle of the night so at 5 he got Tylenol and fell fast asleep at 5:45; but boy I felt so bad getting frustrated with him for not staying asleep every time I laid him down. I felt so guilty that he felt bad for that long when I as his mother should know better. There are so many if’s and shoulda coulda woulda’s that if I let myself get bogged down by them I would be swimming in guilt. If I paid more attention I could have given him medicine earlier, or if I wouldn’t have been so frustrated maybe I would have realized what was wrong. I can’t let myself think like that; I have to think more along the lines of, at least I could help him rest and feel better again.
I have started to realize that I need to find ways to help me find more constructive ways to get frustration out. Currently I angry clean, read, write, talk with my mom, eat chocolate, and ignore people. Not all of those are healthy. I think sometimes maybe I could exercise? Then I think with what energy?! I have two young kids, who I pick up and chase around all day; that is more than plenty of exercise some days! Reading is another escape that brings me back to myself when I get the time. Maybe I should try yoga? Cycling? Hell maybe just going for a walk when I can would be a healthy way to release frustration!
No one is a perfect parent including myself; there is always room for improvement and positive change. Days to choose to be a good mom, a better mom than I was the day before. Days to choose to be a gentler parent than I was that morning. Times to choose to talk to my children instead of yell out of frustration or give that spanking. Moments to take the extra time to snuggle and give that one more “I love you”.
I will never be a perfect parent.
But I can try to be a better mother than I was yesterday.