All parents can agree on one thing. No matter how amazing we thought we'd be as parents, before having them, once we do, we're usually living in doubt. There's no physical measure in this world to tell us we're doing a bang up job as parents. We sit and compare ourselves to others, society's depiction of perfect families and possibly the family we grew up in. There are so many factors to consider and none of those guarantee we're winning in the role of parent.
If "normal" moms are anything like me then they must spend their day nagging their children, cleaning up after them, correcting "negative" behaviors, mediating siblings spats, and running from one parental commitment to another. We become so consumed with the day-to-day management of life we may begin to lose sight of the bigger picture. Being lost in the everyday details also doesn't mean we've solidified excellence in parenting.
Then out of the blue life hands you a moment of much needed reassurance. Life treats you to the bliss of feeling like you're winning at this parenting thing. Suddenly, you're overwhelmed with the idea that somehow you've figured parenthood out and those feelings alone become a measurement for success in parenting.
For me, I got that much needed sensation of success when I watched my son cry at the thought of losing his siblings. My seven year old is like most. He can't sit still, he often avoids his chores and fights constantly with his little sister. But he's also the same caring little boy that today held on to his sister so lovingly.
While out to lunch we were playing a silly "would you rather game?" Two questions in my husband asks my son, "would you rather live without your electronics or without your brother and sister?" Our son sat puzzled and processing. Suddenly, his eyes filled with tears and his face became devastatingly sad. His dad asked gently, "you don't like thinking about not having a brother or sister?" He nodded in agreement and cried more deeply. My husband asked my daughter to hug her big brother and they held on tight for several minutes...
We felt sad for our son. But honestly, we also felt like WINNERS! We're not perfect parents. We often experience parental doubt, but then we witness a love and bond so strong among our little ones that it could move a SEVEN year old to tears. In this moment, and others like it, we are reassured by life. In a job as challenging as parenting, we get these emotionally measurable moments to feel confident in our abilities. We are reminded that somehow we are doing an amazing job in spite or the doubts and lack of a MUCH needed instructions manual. We are teaching love through example, through consistency and through simply having faith that we'll succeed as parents, because honestly, succeeding as parents WE MUST!
Share your parenting WINS with us?
How do you know you're winning at this thing called parenthood?