Once again I want to say to parents and all those who care for children, recognize the value of your caring and your worth and give yourself a pat on the back. So often I observe parents leaving a program, the playground, the swimming pool, the grocery store and I sense frustration and even despair. I hear from other parents who feel completely worn out after a challenging morning, a long day, even an ordinary day and question their ability to be effective parents.
I overheard a mom talking recently to a group of other moms. “I think I’m a really good mom – except when I’m not!”
And one guess as to what she might be focusing on the most? Hopefully not the times when things weren’t perfect.
No matter how well we plan or prepare for situations, no matter how often we are “really good”, we will have those moments and mornings and days when we question ourselves, feel discouraged and at a loss to know what to do next.
I recall an essay I read a long time ago in a parenting magazine – a mom retelling her challenging day to her spouse and exclaiming that in addition to being totally wiped out and frustrated, she had absolutely accomplished not one thing important that whole entire day.
It was then that her young 5-year-old daughter (remember big ears- always in tune?) piped up. “But Mommy, yes you did! You found the other shoe for my Barbie under my bed, you got the knot out of my tennis shoes after I’d gone in the puddle and the laces were all wet, and you made pancakes in the shape of butterflies for lunch!”
On Sunday, I stopped at an estate sale. I love these sales partly because so many of them are in the homes of senior adults and the ages and stages of their family life is so apparent. Now these same pieces are being examined and dispersed for others to integrate into their own lives.
I was particularly moved on Sunday by a framed poem I saw that was definitely written by an adult son to his mom. I was sad to see it there for sale because it was so personal and so meaningful. But in it he remembered all the things his mom had done for the family – the cookies, the stories, the Halloween costumes, the bike rides, the holiday festivities, the “huts” she made for them, the nursing she gave them when they were sick, the surprises, the delicious food she fixed and on and on. All of these memories were small things that together created a huge, loving and meaningful legacy this adult son was able to recall and cherish.
So try at the end of the day, to take the time to reflect on the positive moments of your day as a parent and accept the opportunity, the connection and the joy that is there – if we look, acknowledge and appreciate its worth – your worth.
This more than anything will help you with the moments that “are not”.
If you are having an off day, please remember to give The Parenting Place’s warm line a call – 784-8125. A parent educator is there to listen, support and guide.