If you've ever felt inadequate as a parent, chances are you're doing a pretty good job. In fact, most parents feel what's typically referred to as 'mom guilt' at some point over the course of their parenting career. In a society that keeps layering on the pressure of the true definition of 'the perfect parent', it's no wonder we're all left feeling like we've failed our kids. After all, at the end of the day, this 'perfect parent' doesn't exist.
Around every corner, and in every parenting magazine, you'll find ways to 'be a better parent'. From diapering to feeding, to sleep training, to discipline, there are ways you're both 'failing' and 'succeeding' at your job. The problem with this is, just like photo-shopped fashion magazines, this ideal parent doesn't exist.
If you think there is even one parent out there who hasn't made a mistake, lost their temper or 'damaged' their child in one way or another, think again. What makes things even harder is that this construct of the perfect parent changes constantly. So, just when you think you've got things pretty down pat, a new study comes out saying "no, that's wrong too."
What makes things even harder is that every single child and parent is different. What works for you may not work for someone else and their child. At the end of the day, what makes you a good parent is making your kids feel happy, safe and loved. Does that mean they won't ever be upset, scared or feel like they've disappointed you? No.
One of the major parts of growing up is learning to interact with people and learning that people are different. Mom may not like being jumped on and wrestling around but Dad does. Does that make Mom a failure as a parent because she would rather read bedtime stories than play rough? Certainly not. On the other hand, Dad may not be good at keeping a schedule but mom is. Does that mean Dad is less of a parent than Mom? Of course not.
People come with a variety of strengths and weaknesses and just because you don't excel in some areas doesn't mean your kids are suffering. They love you for the things you do well but also for teaching them that no one's perfect. If you're doing your best, keeping them fed, clean and happy then you are by definition the perfect parent. Anything else is extra.