I once heard that if your kids think you are a bad parent you are doing it someway right. This didn’t sit well with me because I hoped that my kids would be raised in an environment that allowed them to become individuals, with personal responsibility and with a safety net (me). Very idealistic and unachievable?
I think if you ask a third of my children they will use the adjective bad when commenting on my parenting skills. I am not a bit bothered by this, I have a teenager who is trying to find the hole in the fence of the boundaries that I have set.
Another third of my children will have a pro-con list much like Rory Gilmore*, they will say I am good at x and bad at y. I am not bothered by this either as we all have strengths and weaknesses. That is what is great about having two people responsible for parenting. One parent can point out when the other is going off on a tangent. Parenting together, without undermining each other is key to better parenting.
Of the last third, I actually can do very little wrong. I am more concerned by this than the previous scenarios because this section of my children needs me more than the others but because of various things that have cropped up, I feel I am shortchanging them.
Parenting is so hard and such a short amount of time to accomplish much. Eighteen years is the average length of parenting responsibilities. Some of us have been given precious gifts that take longer to parent, but the role changes to one of family companion, friend, advocate and guide.
Some of the things I remember that gave me joy in parenting:
a crushed bird being brought home because mum can fix anything
water fighting around the house both inside and out with everyone soaked and laughing
climbing up a mountain in Spain and being helped by them when I turned my ankle
watching each of them take care of animals
neighbours kids coming with stings bleeds and all manner of bruises, mum can take away stings, stop bleeds, bring down bruising
cooking with all the kids at different stages in their development
I have a list of frustrations too but they don’t matter because love overcomes so much.
We have seen perfect parenting, perfect sacrifice, perfect love, we are always going to fall short of that perfection, doesn’t stop us trying. And just in case any of my kids read this. I LOVE YOU (in capital letters for those that can’t see them).