There are always moments as a parent when your shortcomings and weaknesses seem to overshadow the good you do. And sometimes it feels like a child’s actions are meant purely to drive you over the edge, push you to your outer limits where patience and kind words seem very, very far away. It feels so hard to react in a way that builds up, that shows love, when you yourself are at your wit’s end. At moments like these you might pause, eyes wide in fear and awful revelation: ‘Oh (mild expletive). I’m a bad parent. I’m ruining my kid.’ But you aren’t. Really. You are absolutely and by all means the very best parent out there for your children and here’s why:
You put in the time.
It’s as simple as that. That adrenaline loaded moment of pure ecstasy when your wide awake new born gazes up into your eyes passes, or that euphoric moment when you hold your adoptive son or daughter for the first time, and then it starts: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of blood sweat and tears. Sure, you might return to work but mentally you are still 100% on duty. You are the one that gets to know every weird little tick and tendency. You can differentiate cries in the night. Cries of pain from cries of frustration or pleas for attention. You can see a fight between siblings brewing from a mile off. You know what kind of quiet you have to watch out for. You know exactly what your 2 year old is saying. You know more than you’d like to about their bowel movements. The list goes on and on.
Recently I got a call from the school nurse. My daughter, who had broken her leg, was juggling flags in PE class and, forgetting for a moment, jumped to catch one and came down on her broken leg. It hurt and she panicked, she was so terrified that she’d hurt it worse. The nurse sounded irritated when she called, my daughter had already been sitting in her office for 1/2 hour and wasn’t calming down; could I come get her. There was also blame; ‘she should know better, she shouldn’t be participating in the first place.’ When I arrived there she was, waiting for me in a chair by the front office looking small and scared. And oh, her eyes welled up and her lip quivered, ‘I want to go home with you.’
And I knew exactly what to do. I knew that it was more fear than pain. I knew her over-developed sense of responsibility was crushed and she felt like she’d messed up bad. I knew she didn’t need words from me – no more words – just my arms wrapped around her and my love flowing through her, accepting her. I felt her lean into me, we sat quietly for a moment then she picked up the book she’d been looking at. ‘Can I finish the book before I go back to class? It’s a funny one.’ And that was that. We finished the book, she took my hand and I walked her back to class.
When I came back by the office, I thanked the nurse for calling me and explained that she’d gone back to class. The nurse looked surprised, she’d given up. And that, my friends, is the power we have as moms. The power of knowing someone through and through. We truly can – and do- sweep in and save the day on a regular basis. Just like a super hero. So next time you are doubting yourself or your abilities as a parent, remember that beyond the innate love and connection that binds us to our kids, we’ve put in the time; enough hours to be considered an expert in the field. We’ve got battle wounds that have healed but left scars. We’ve sacrificed so much, and we’ve got heads so jam-packed full of knowledge of our children that other regular things (like remembering what you went upstairs for) slip our minds continually. But the things that truly matter are there for good.
Granted, it’s a steep learning curve but you are qualified, 100%, for this job. Don’t ever forget it.
Ida Fischer is a MOPS alumna. She is married to Maarten and mother to Sam (10), Noa (8), and Mylo (5). She enjoys everything outdoors, reading, and spending time alone to paint. You can find her blog and artwork at Ida Fischer Art and Illustration.