In my role as a parent, I sometimes feel like I fail more than I succeed.
I overact, lose my temper, say things I regret, focus on the negative, raise my voice…this list goes on and on.
For a guy who loves to keep score, I feel like most days end at Failure – 21, Success 0.
Do you ever feel like this?
Lately, I’ve felt this way pretty often.
You see our three year old is going through a phase. He’s going through the “Thanks for the suggestions Mom and Dad, but we’re doing this my way or I’m going to stomp and scream” phase.
Or, as I sometimes call it, the “Everyone is starring at us” phase.
And even though I know it won’t last, that little voice in the back of my head tells me this phase is another example of my shortcomings as a parent.
But I can’t be a failure all the time, right? Right?! (What took you so long to answer?!)
Maybe the problem isn’t that I’m a failure, but rather how I define success.
Without thinking, I tend to fall into the trap of equating my success as a parent with how happy my kids are with me at the present moment.
That’s a dangerous way to define success.
I mean, letting Colton eat 75 Rolos before dinner would certainly make him happy with me, but it’s not what’s best for him. So, I can’t allow it. That’s being a parent.
Other times I define success by perfection.
Some days, though, I don’t know what I’m doing and there are times I need a complete do-over. So, if the definition of success is perfect parenting…then I’m definitely be a failure because that ship sailed a long time ago.
The truth is there’s a big difference between being a failure and making a mistake.
My mom is a school teacher…well, she’s retired now, but I remember her classroom vividly. I couldn’t begin to estimate how many hours I spent in that room and I can picture everything from the podium my uncle made her to the mini-fridge I drank about 10,000 Cokes out of. She also had this sign on the wall that said “We are free to make mistakes while learning.”
And as parents, we need to remind ourselves of that…often. I tend to be accepting of everyone else’s mistakes, just not my own.
I mean, the day your kids are born, you don’t just know everything about parenting all-of-a-sudden.
You are constantly learning.
Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes.
Admit them. Learn from them. That’s success and it’s a great example for your children.
Ask God daily for wisdom because He gives it generously to all who ask.
And remember to share your experiences with other parents.
You know, you may not be the perfect parent, but you’re perfect for your children. That’s why God gave them to you. Of all the people in the world, he chose you!
Your children love you and are blessed to have you in their lives…even when you won’t let them eat their weight in chocolate candy before dinner.
I'd like to hear from you! How do you define success as a parent? What advice would you give others learning to be better parents?You can leave a comment by clicking here.