Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pouring My Heart Out...The Haunting Inner Dialogue of Every Parent


Most parents, especially mothers, are guilty of this. The haunting inner dialogue we have with ourselves about our children, that is.
  • Should I have put him on a time-out instead of simply giving him another warning?
  • Will they still love me if I stick to my guns?
  • Everyone else is letting their kids do it...why am I being such a hard-ass?
We are forever questioning our parenting skills, especially when we hear of someone who may be doing the opposite of what we're doing.

It leaves us plagued with self-doubt and anxiety to think we could be short-changing our kids in any way, shape or form.  We love them and want the very best for them, of course.

But with no parenting manuals or easy "how-to" guides, we are left floundering, constantly having conversations with ourselves over what's right and what's wrong.

Sometimes, this leads us to have discussions with friends...
  • "What do you do when Johnny refuses to do his homework?"
  • "How do you handle it when your kid disrespects you?
  • "Have you ever spanked Melissa for running away from you in a parking lot?"
However,  those conversations may have you even more puzzled and wondering about your parenting abilities more than they leave you with a feeling of encouragement and inspiration.

So what's a parent to do?  How do you know you're doing things right?  How do you know your children won't hate you when they're older for every single mistake you've ever made with them?

Oh, wait...did you actually think I might have the answers to those questions?

No way.  Sorry to say, I have no clue.

What it boils down to, I suppose, is that none of us can be absolutely sure that we're not causing irreparable damage to our children.

All it takes is a high-pitched shriek in their direction over something as simple as spilled milk and you witness their little spirits being crushed right before your very eyes.  Even a casual "What were you thinking?" is enough to reduce them into a heap of tears.

Yet, at the same time, an apology is worth a thousand words.  A gentle, loving hug accompanied by a heartfelt request of forgiveness can go a long way.  It can push things back into the right direction instead of continuing down that frightening path of the unknown, where you worry endlessly that there may be no second chances.

As disappointing as it is, no one can predict the future.  There is no way to to know how your actions or words today may affect your children tomorrow.

We were all wonderful parents....before we had kids, right?  And then reality set in and we suddenly discovered that this whole parenting gig is way more challenging that we ever could have imagined.

There is constant second guessing in every little decision we make.  We are always sizing up our competition, wondering if they know something we don't know about parenting.  We look at successful parents and strive to know their secrets.  We worry what others think.

But, in the end, we just have to do the best we can.  And hope that it's enough.

Those whispered "I love you's" when you tuck your babies into bed at night??  The random "Mom, you're the best" when you make their favorite meal??   The friendly "Mom, will you walk me to class today"??

Well, those are the things we need to cling to.  Those are the reminders that we're doing something right.

That's when your inner dialogue should be saying to you, "Hang in there.  Someday they will know that everything you've done for them has been purely out of love".


MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

34 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Wise words for a Wednesday :-)!

Angela said...

I think we should remember that we were all different before we became mums, parents etc so therefore as parents we are all different too. Personally, I feel it's a massive learning curve and an ongoing journey that never ceases to both amaze and frustrate me! It's also hard to listen to our own instincts when there is so much pressure being trickled through to us on the very rights and wrongs of parenting x

Di said...

Oh Parenting - truly the hardest job ever. I am constantly second guessing myself if I handled something correctly or not! Time (and future therapy bills..) will tell!

Lisa said...

Ugh. I hate that look of sadness when I yell too loud or whatnot. It breaks my heart. :(

Samantha said...

This post means a lot to me, because I do question myself so often. I think it comes down to, everyone is different...everyone parents different...and I think you'll find the groove that you fit into. Doesn't mean I don't question my groove though. Thank you for this!

Charlene said...

Amen....after 19 years, I still wonder about some of my choices through the years. Parenting is the hardest job ever. We all second guess ourselves (even years later). And I'm realizing that my job will never be done...parenting never ends (I'm raising adults and school age children).

Nezzy said...

It's a fine like we all walk as parents but ya have to be 'parents' not friends. Our kids have enough friends but they NEED parents.

Yes the tears will come but there has to be responsibility taken by the child when they do wrong. Consequences are inevitable when parentin'.

Your children will cry and might even voice that they hate you but they don't. Kiddos want and need boundaries. They know if you take the time and effort to punish, that you love 'em.

I've actually had students at school (Middle School) say my Mom/Dad acts like a kid, I wish they'd take the time to care and set boundaries. Paraphrasin' here.

The Bible speaks many times that God corrects us because He loves us. Why shouldn't we do the same for our children?? Don't our kids deserve the very best.

Sorry, ya struck a nerve. I have a huge problem with parents not bein' parents. Can ya tell? Heeehehehe!!!

As daddy would of said, "she has diarrhea of the mouth!"

God bless ya sweetie and have an awesomely beautiful day!!! :o)

Jen said...

You are so so right. We have to hang onto the good and not the guilt or worry.

Missy | Literal Mom said...

Totally beautiful. Perfectly stated. The push and pull of parenting - it's exactly how you've described.

Kim said...

Since having children of my own, I've become a lot more forgiving of my own parents. The things that I used to hold against them and the blame that I placed on them for my own negative characteristics have pretty much fallen away into oblivion. Great post!

Simone said...

I have seen this with my daughters who are 22 and 24. They shower me with love because of the mommy that I was with them, growing up. I was firm, loving, caring, honest and willing to admit when I was wrong.

I now struggle tremendously with my stepkids. I can honestly say that I don't like them very much, especially the smart mouth 17 year old. I love them but don't like them. I didn't raise them so it's hard for me to try to parent them now. Anyway, off on my own tangent...just know that I understand.

Karen Peterson said...

I don't know if this helps you at all, but when I look back on my childhood, I really don't remember the times my mom said no. But I remember a heck of a lot of times when she said yes.

Emmy said...

Amen!! It is so hard- so hard to know what is right, what is too much, if some of the little things really matter enough, and then I think of a few of the bad memories I have and it freaks me out that something I did might become one of those memories. But at the same time I still love my parents and don't hold those few bad memories over their heads. So, yes, I think we will be okay

Angie said...

Wow, did this ever resonate with me today!

The topic of our mothers' Bible study this week was worry. Specifically, less of it. Trying to enjoy our children more and freak out about them less, because when others question every decision you make, you start to do the same, and once that voice in your head starts yammering, it is SO HARD to shut it up.

Something you said is so telling: "We are always sizing up our competition, wondering if they know something we don't about parenting..."

This is the problem in a nutshell. Somehow we've gone from "it takes a village" to "welcome to the village parenting competition." And that's such a stressful place to be.

You're so right--the measures of success are not the things parents brag about at cocktail parties, but rather the things your children whisper to you at night, or the extra hug and kiss.

Thank you, Helene, for an awesome post.

Catherine said...

I used to have all of those same doubts. The question I always asked myself was, "What kind of people do I want them to turn out to be?" I usually knew what I had to do to accomplish the goal of creating responsible citizens of the planet. Mine are grown now. They often don't remember when I bring up discipline related stories. But, if they do ... they know I was right. They may be even harder on their own kids. They also know that they were loved, that they were given the tools they needed to thrive and that they learned lessons along the way that helped them avoid bigger, messier lessons. It is evident from your posts that you are an awesome mom. It is also evident that you have extremely bright children. They are going to be just fine.

Evonne said...

The constant second guessing can drive us mad! Sadly, we all do it.

The past few days have been crazy for me. I yelled at the kids way more than I should and spent less time with them than I care to admit. I worried I was damaging them in some way. Then last night as I dragged myself through the front door, my son came out of no where to give me a hug. I knew it was all ok.

Struggling for Ever After said...

So true...

Shell said...

It is SO hard to know if we are doing the right thing. And talking to other parents only makes it more confusing!

myinnerchick.com said...

--Even though you do not realize it, you are planting all of those beautiful seeds right now...& believe me when I say, they will thank you later.

Xxxx

Jenny said...

So true!

WhisperingWriter said...

Great post and so true!

Lilscorpiosweetie said...

I am guilty of inner dialogues.

I had an episode happen today if you are willing to click on my link you can see what happened.

It was really all about perspective and how as a mother/parent you really don't want to admit to the bad side of things. I get that learning disabilities happen. I get that some kids will have to work harder than others just to achieve Societies normal performance. But it breaks your heart to hear that school administration doesn't want you to have false hope that maybe something good will come of the learning disability. They want you to accept the reality of how unsuccessful your child will be.

Xazmin said...

Love this post. Every mother understands that inner dialogue.

For me, I just rely on lots and lots of prayer, and then still wonder if I'm doing it right!

Jode said...

A truly lovely post Helene...i have had a shocking few weeks with my twins and then we got some news earlier in the week that just made me pause and feel so so guilty!
We will never reach perfection, we just continue to strive to do the best we can on that particular day!

Zeemaid Zeemaid said...

Whoever thought parenting would be so hard, right?

I personally hang on to the hope that when they get older they will realize how hard it is to be a parent and feel bad for all the S@(T they put us through. I know I felt bad for being so hard on my parents as a teen and now I'm a mom, I'm always saying to my mom "I get it" now.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I just have to say that I'm in love with this post...we all question ourselves and it's just nice to know that we're not alone. <3

Twins Squared said...

Couldn't have said all that better myself! Agree 100%! But I WAS waiting for the answer - tell us please!

Yeah, it's so tough. I am always second guessing stuff and it's hard not to focus on my faults instead of my strengths. But I agree about the apologies. I am definitely not above apologizing to my kids. The only thing I cling to is lots and lots of prayers that they make good choices and choose to live righteous lives and that they are safe. Everything else it's a bit of a toss-up what's going to happen later in life. We do our best and hope we don't damage them. :)

SRM said...

love this message. Thank you

CrazyBabyTalk said...

I can really relate to this...I have a "spirited" toddler and I pretty much have this inner dialogue on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing! It helps to read this sort of post.

Sela Toki said...

Thanks for your wise words Helene. I love the honesty in your posts and as parents, we try to do the best we can for our precious children that we love so much. We give it our all and pray they'll turn out okay.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I do this daily too! I guess it is what makes us good parents in the end? The time and energy we put into it!

Christina said...

It's so hard to know if what your doing is right or wrong, but then you sit back and think what IS really "right" or "wrong?" We all have our own way of dealing with kids, and we all have kids who need different types of discipline. What works for Abby who will cry at the drop of a hat and we have to be gentler with, doesn't work for Alex who could care less.

Barbara said...

So well said. I know I am going to screw up my kid in some way, but at least he still hugs, kisses and says I love you and that makes up for most of it, right?

~Brooke~ said...

Thank you!! I def needed to hear this today <3

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
Blog Design by Likely Lola