I love when the kids finally get to bed. I get the free time to myself I so desperately need to finish a few chores, paint my toenails, watch a TV show, workout, read a book, write blog posts, etc. But sending the kids to bed also comes with its challenges. Once the house is quiet, my mind starts replaying the struggles of the day, over and over again and then the guilt sets in. I promised myself I would be honest in this blog, so while I know many family and friends are reading this blog and I risk revealing my vulnerabilities as a human being, as a mother and as a wife, I will try to let go of my reservations. Where was I? Oh yes, the guilt. So once the kids are sleeping and the house is quiet except for the sounds of my dear husband doing the dishes or the laundry in the wash, my mind begins to re-live the events of the day and I start to wonder. Did I handle that tantrum properly? Did I play with my son and daughter enough today? Am I doing what I need to do to help my son speak better and make himself understood? Has my daughter had enough tummy time and is she on target developmentally? Do I culture the positive development of my children, or are the activities we are doing hurting them in the long run? Often the answers I come up with are in the negative. How can I possibly live up to the expectations I have placed on myself? I don't know why I try so hard to impress myself, you'd think by now I would accept that I'm imperfect which makes me, well, perfectly human. I haven't, though, and hard as I try I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact.
The answers to my questions paint a picture of mediocre parenting, lack of patience and failure. Then comes the inevitable remorse over the things I didn't do, or the things I did all wrong. So, how do I get over it? Sometimes I let a few of my chores go. A perfect house is non-essential, and, in the interest of emotional sanity, its an acceptable sacrifice. Some nights we forget about bath time, story time or scripture time. Yes, we try to read scriptures and pray every night as a family. It may be hard to believe, I can hardly believe it myself sometimes, but keeping a steady routine is SO important for my son. The routines we have set in place have saved our family many tears, but that's for another post.
When all else fails, I try to give myself a little slack. After all, expecting to be a perfect parent won't get me there, only failing time and time again with a little grace and a lot of humility will. I think the best thing I can do for myself, is recognize that, though I have read countless paragraphs on parenting and child development, that doesn't give me any monopoly on parenting. At the end of the day the best I can do is good enough, and it's better than I did the day before... at least I'd like to think so. Until tomorrow friends, or whenever I get to writing the next post.