Forgive Yourself

We’re not perfect, not any of us.  We lose our cool on occasion.  We let our kids have junk for dinner sometimes.  We forget to send in that all important signed paper to school that was due that day.  We mess up sometimes.  It happens.  Parenting is HARD.  Forgive yourself and move on.  If it’s a mistake, learn from it, forgive yourself and move on.

Everyone has bad days no matter if they are five or fifty-five, or even eighty-five.  No one is on their game 100% of the time.  And the same goes for your children.  They make mistakes, they mess up, they do things they know they aren’t supposed to.  But, just like you, they are only human.  Forgive them and move on.  If it’s a mistake, teach them how to learn from it, forgive them and move on. More importantly, teach them how to forgive themselves.

Self-care is something that most everyone can do better at executing.  We’re so caught up in taking care of others’ needs that we neglect ourselves.  Whether it is our spouse, our child, our boss, our parent, our sibling, our best friend, our neighbor, or any number of other people in our lives, we seem to put others’ needs before our own.  Helping others is important, but not at the expense of our own emotional or physical health.  One of my favorite quotes is “Take care of yourself, you can’t pour from an empty vessel”.  If you are emotionally and physically healthy you are more in a position to help others than if you are needy yourself.  Take those extra few minutes in the bubble bath.  Drink a glass of wine before bed.  Skip the housework for a change and start another book by your favorite author. Take the time for things you enjoy.

Above all, recognize that you will make parenting mistakes.  As the old adage states, kids don’t come with an instruction manual.  You are going to make mistakes, that’s how you will learn what not to do in the future.  Mistakes don’t make you a bad parent, they make you human.  The fact that you make mistakes means you are trying.  The only parents who don’t make mistakes are the ones who aren’t raising their own children.

Be prepared for the realization that what works wonders with child #1 may have horrid results with child #2 or #3.  Each child is different, so your parenting must be different for each child.  I raised two girls who were as different as daylight and dark.  One was a girlie-girl, the other a tomboy.  One was outspoken and boisterous, the other was sensitive and quiet. They were, and still are, my yin and yang.  I parented them differently because they are different people.  I didn’t know at first that I would have to do that, I had to learn that the hard way.  Attempting to use the same strategies on my youngest that I had used on my oldest failed miserably.  So, I adapted and learned what worked with her.

So do your best with what you have learned so far and praise yourself for your efforts. And once in awhile, when the going gets tough, let the kids have pizza rolls for dinner while you relax in your easy chair with your favorite beverage.  Then tell yourself what a great job you’re doing at this parenting thing.  Because it’s not easy.  In fact, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.  But when it’s all over, and you’ve raised a super awesome human (or more), you’ll know you made it because you didn’t beat yourself up over mistakes that happened along the way.


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