As parents, we always tend to second guess ourselves on pretty much everything when it comes to raising our children. And as time goes on, it doesn’t get much easier. Instead, we find more things to worry about and - if we're being honest here - obsess over. The important thing to remember is to go easy on yourself. All mothers (and fathers!) make plenty of mistakes.
In fact, it would be strange if you didn't. As much as you think of yourself as a seasoned parent, it’s a nonstop learning process. We've all been there, worried beyond any doubt that the one time you raised your voice would stick with your daughter forever. Or that giving in and cleaning up your kid's mess would result in him growing up to be an entitled brat.
Of course it goes beyond wondering if your disciplining methods are good or bad for your kiddos. We tend to wonder if our children have already turned out, well, bad because of something we may have done to them as they were growing up. If he's a bully, you blame yourself instinctively. If he's being bullied, then you silently scold yourself for not better teaching him how to stand up for himself.
Basically, it is an unfortunate truth that no matter how our kids turn out, we end of turning to ourselves as the culprit for any of their negative attributes. Yes, this is entirely irrational, but with parenthood comes along the ever present guilt gene that also makes us worry constantly that we’re raising our children "right" and steering them in the right direction at all times.
The truth is, you can do everything in your power to protect your kid from becoming an unsavory person, and they might still turn out as such. The most you can do is just your best, while trying hard (and, in some cases, super hard) not to beat yourself up over every hiccup or speed bump along the way. There’s a reason that kids don’t come with instruction manuals, and part of it is because it’s up to you to find your own groove and style when it comes to parenting.
It might be different from your own mother's, or from your friend's or sister's, but that's okay too. Go easy on yourself when you feel like you’ve done something wrong as a mother, because chances are, it wasn’t nearly as wrong as you think it was and your kid will bounce back faster than you can say "psychotherapy." Not convinced? Then believe us when we say that there are plenty of reasons to forgive yourself.
7 It's Not As Bad As You Think
You may be so sure that taking away a toy or dishing out a time out will cause some sort of irreparable damage, but all of that is just not as bad as you think. Being generous with the time outs when your kids are acting particularly unsavoury is actually good for them and for you. It provides an immediate reaction to their action, while the memory of whatever they've done is still fresh in their minds.
And raising your voice may seem like the end of the world - thanks in part to that little lower lip quiver that your toddler gives off anytime you do it - but the truth of the matter is that sometimes speaking in that calm, inside voice just won't do. And sometimes, you simply have to yell to hear yourself over their own shouting. See? They're probably yelling a lot more than you anyway.
6 Mistakes Can Be A Good Thing
Whether you’re a kid intent on doing whatever you want despite the consequences, or an adult intent on doling out necessary punishments, a mistake can be a good thing. Is it always a good idea to get overly worked up or to feed your shoe laces to the dog? Well, probably not. But the cool thing about mistakes is that we tend to learn from them and as a result, grow considerably.
When you make a mistake, your first instinct is to scold yourself as a mom and start the internal struggle of wondering what kind of parent you really are. But, for the sake of your sanity and of setting a good example for your kiddos, take a step back and think about your mistakes. Learn from them and try to figure out what you can improve on for the future and where you went wrong in this particular instance.
It may not be the easiest thing in the world, to just tell yourself to feel better for making a mistake, but if you can take that step back and analyze the situation, it might get a little easier each time.
5 Kids Are Resilient
Have you ever shouted at your kid while they were in the midst of a pretty dramatic temper tantrum? Maybe you raised your voice a bit above its usual octave and shocked them right before they let out one of those huge, ear-splitting wails. But then, just a few minutes later, they're suddenly better and talking about it with you and acting as if nothing is wrong. No, they aren't insane little creatures.
They're just kids, and more resilient than you'd think to pretty much everything. Unlike us, they don't have a lifetime of experiences and dramatics to turn situations into long, drawn-out battles that become much bigger than necessary. Instead, they're quick to forgive and quite literally forget, and move on.
It’s true, of course, that this may be less accurate for some more sensitive kids, but there’s still a great chance that yours may be one of the ones able to bounce back quickly. Maybe we can take a few cues from this aspect of childhood, eh?
4 You're Doing Your Best
The one thing that most parents can agree on is that if you're trying your hardest and doing your best, in the best interest of your kid, then you're doing just fine. When you feel like you've done something wrong as a mother, remind yourself of this. We only know so much before we're simply learning as we go along, and as a mom, you're trying your best to raise your kid in the right way and with the right sort of boundaries and rules.
It would be entirely too easy to just let them run wild and free, so give yourself a few hearty pats on the back for already making the effort to not let that happen. Make it a point to remind yourself that you aren't Supergirl or Wonder Woman, and that is totally okay to be making mistakes even when you're doing your best. No one ever got it perfect when it comes to parenting and likewise, no one is expecting you to either.
Trust us, it’s only natural to worry that you've done something wrong as a mother, but if you're truly trying your best at this whole parenting thing, then you've got no one to lash out at. And yes, we're talking about yourself.
3 It Teaches Kids That Adults Aren't Perfect
As parents, when we're sick or hurt in some way, we usually try to hide that from our children, or shield them from that fact. We don't want to appear as anything less than the higher beings that they've grown to see us as. But what we should really be doing is allowing them to see us brought down a few pegs. It may sound silly, and even sillier still to entertain the idea of letting them help in taking care of us during these times, but it does a kid wonders to see that adults aren't perfect.
When you make a mistake as a mother and admit to it, you're allowing your kid to see you as a human being and not as the sometimes God-like figure they've come to view you as. And that's a very good thing. Seeing their parents make mistakes can help ease any pressures of being perfect themselves, or at the very least, help to steady their self-esteem and self-confidence.
2 It Makes You Stronger As A Mom And As A Person
To err is human, right? So to err as a mom makes for a divine mom down the line. Or something like that. Like we said before, learning from your mistakes is something that helps you grow both as a person and as a parent. So it should come as no real shocker that when you feel like you've done something wrong as a mother, and when you own up to it and learn from it, you grow stronger because of it.
See how that works? And when we explore our own faults and what we view as wrong doings, like disciplining or being too lax, we actually work to build our own self-confidence as moms and as individuals too. Instead of beating ourselves up over the should haves or the could haves, we can take comfort in the fact that owning up to what we see as mistakes will bring on a new found strength that all moms could use at some point.
1 There's No One Way To Parent
This couldn't be truer. If there’s one thing you should learn in the first few years as a new parent, it's that everyone has a different parenting style. What works for one soft-spoken, demure mother, may not work for another family, who is more raucous than reigned in. Don't look at others' methods of parenting and beat yourself up over not following in their footsteps exactly.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with adapting a little here and there from different parents you meet or see on the street, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your family. And if the method results in feeling like you've done something wrong, go easy on yourself. No experienced parent was made that way by the time their first-born was two, or three, or even four.
Sometimes it takes another kid thrown into the mix to really get that experience, and sometimes it takes carefully raising your one and only kid to find yourself as a parent. But if, along the way, you find yourself disappointing yourself, try to go easy and remember that there’s no one way to parent and there is no end-all be-all to rearing kids.
You can only do your best, and if you feel like you've done something wrong, think about whether or not what you've done is in the safety, love, and care of your child. All checks? Then you're more than good to go.