No mom is perfect. I am incredibly imperfect. I get mad, I take naps, I like to have adult time and specifically carve out time to do it. Yesterday, a snow day, I discovered that my two boys had spent over $400 between the Xbox and their Kindles. Rage. After spending over an hour on the phone crying to Amazon, Microsoft, the WWE Shop (yeah, that’s a thing), and my bank, I was exhausted of tears and yelling. My boys will be living in a no-technology, Amish existence for the foreseeable future.
I blamed myself. How could I not know exactly what they were doing? How terrible am I for not making sure the parental controls were foolproof? Why do I not know my husband’s login and password for Microsoft? Yup, shame spiral. I felt terrible. And this was just one day of guilt. How many other days do I feel like I’m just not making it?
And then I remembered something: my kids are my responsibility, but their decisions are their own. I mean, if I can’t live in a bubble of perfection, how can I expect them to do the same? I did my best. I adulted. The parental controls were set, they’re just too damn smart. I don’t Xbox, so Hubby knowing the password should be enough. And the biggest thing? My boys damn sure knew better. We have had the discussion repeatedly that all downloads and purchases go through parents. They disobeyed the rules. We, as parents, have done what we can in a realistic world to do our best.
Yes, there are ways and rules and practices to limit this kind of stuff happening, but every parent gets to make their own decisions. I don’t listen to the criticism from other parents because my kids are not their kids. Mine are generally polite, kind, smart, loving, and accepting of others. That’s a win. If my son hates, school, I still send him. It’s okay. It isn’t a fail on my part that he thinks math is stupid or that my daughter would rather spend time watching makeup tutorials on YouTube rather than reading Jane Eyre. My son can build literally anything he imagines out of Legos (including a gas station with a working car wash, seriously) and my daughter is an excellent resource for her show choir and theater friends when it comes to stage makeup techniques.
As a parent, I’ve had to learn to forgive myself for my imperfections. I don’t love my kids any less when they don’t bring home straight A’s, why should I love myself less? When they neglect to hand in a homework assignment, I don’t berate them and make them feel like lesser people for not being dependable, I tell them to get it done ASAP; so, if the laundry didn’t get done Monday, what’s so bad about Wednesday? If they’re moody and tired, I send them to bed. Why feel guilty if I need the same and I have the time to do it?
Forgiving yourself should really be the first rule of parenting. Self-care, which many moms swear they don’t have time for, is the only way to maintain sanity. It doesn’t mean weekly pedicures and frequent sushi date nights. It means breathing and taking care of your mental well-being and doing anything to make sure you feel like a person in and of yourself. Mom should be an adjective to describe you, not your entire definition. Forgive yourself for having a name, a personality, an identity. Your children will continue to love you and forgive you. The big thing is loving yourself and embracing your mistakes, just as you would encourage them to do. If you show them that it’s okay to be who you are and fulfill your own needs, they will learn to do the same. If you’re not constantly blaming yourself for your misgivings, they’ll learn, too, that it’s okay to move on and keep growing.
In the next few days, I’ll be posting a Self-Care Challenge, including a 30-minute DIY Spa Night! Stay tuned and take care of you!