Have you ever just stopped and looked at your children and thought; “am I failing as a parent?” Is this what I have role modelled and is this my fault?
Lately this question has been on my mind. It’s actually the centre of my daily thoughts and responsible for the unease and restless nights!
My parents met when they were young, high school sweethearts in fact. Two people who I have realised I put through hell but two amazing people. I am the strong and determined person I am today because of them. They may have felt like I do now at times I am sure, but I am where I am because of them! Achieving the things I am, travelling the world, Working with underprivileged children, building structures for them that we take for granted. Teaching our parents children to value what they have. Go be thankful!
I am wholesome and appreciative of everything I have because of the parents I have.
I was taught to always open the door for adults, to help clear the dinner table, to eventually pick up after myself. Not to swear, not to talk back (often), to try and not fight with my brother. I was taught to say thank you, to appreciate an education and eventually overtime realise all the money and time that had been spent to give me every opportunity under the sun!
When I found out I was having a child I vowed to be just like them. To bring her up with morals, teach her manners, teach her respect and to be thankful. To appreciate how truly lucky we are to have what we have and be where we are.
Today I question if I have failed as a parent?
Life has not been easy since she arrived. A surprise she was, but a wonderful surprise. Her father and I young and with nothing did the best we could with what we had. However, it was not enough. Single parenthood here I come. This was hard, you learn that you have to be the mum and the dad. You are the one they take it out on, the one who they cry out for at night and the one who is their centre when the world around them is just to much.
You never get a break. There is no such thing as ‘time out’ from parenting, but we get through it, the daily grind… we survive.
Was it that her father and I didn’t work out that I feel like I have failed?
No, that was not meant to be and for many years we co parented wonderfully.
New man on the scene a beautiful wedding but a ‘touch and go’ few years. Counselling, courts, tears, anger and more. I was again a single parent, the better decision, and time has and will continue to be spent rebuilding us both.
Was it this? Did I fail her again?
Today I sit hurt, angry and it feels like always on the verge of tears. The constant back chat, the entitlement and the lack of respect, the teenage years are upon me and again I am doing it alone.
No longer is her father in the picture, nor the man I loved for 6 years. I am again doing it alone. This time there is no co parent relationship, this time there is no one to ask for a break or a night off. No adult to converse with or to debrief after a hard day. Being invited out with the ladies and having to continually say ‘I can’t make it’ as there is only you. Knowing to leave for a night or take a break has to be organised, takes forward planning and organisation and at times you’re to tired to even think about doing it, even when you know it’s exactly what you need.
This time I am truly doing it alone and again I wonder if I have failed as a parent?
I have watched as the children at school have lost respect, lost manners and certainly lost the ability to be thankful! I have watched them grow more entitled and think at the age of 13 they are equal to us as adults. That our life experience means nothing. I have watched them push boundaries I would have been scared to even think of pushing.
I watch this all filter into my home! Is this what I had thought parenting would be like? Certainly not!!
Working two jobs to keep a house over our heads, spending the last cent I have to ensure she has what she needs and there is no thanks. Their is no gratitude. Is this because I have failed as a parent?
All the decisions I have made have been for the betterment of her. Does she understand? No at 13 she doesn’t. Will she ever? Maybe, one day.
All I know is I question if everything I have done and continue to do is failing her as a parent?
Is this parenting? Questioning what we are doing and if we are doing it right? If so parenting sucks and I wish to resign! I wish to put it on hold or get an ‘extension’ as the kids do at school on an assessment when the going gets tough.
We can’t though! We have to wake up, paste a smile on our face and keep going. Hoping that as a parent who works, provides and continues to teach those valuable life lessons will one day be enough. That these hard times and lessons will set up our children with the skills they will need when they leave the safety of our own home.
From the moments when they refused to leave you, huddled between your knees on that first day of school, the tears and the fear in their eyes. To the fighting and arguing as they learn to be independent. You watch as they learn to fail, have friendship issues and go through hard times and have to think it’s going to be okay. That’s all part of life, isn’t it? Part of parenting?
I guess I am not failing but doing what people have done for years. I am parenting to the best of my ability. Putting everything and all I have into it.
One has to hope that’s enough!