Parenting isn’t Perfect

Thank you so much dear readers for all of your comments over my last post “I’m Failing Too”. The outpour of love, support and encouragement has been invaluable. You really are my village and I’m encouraged by that.

I wanted to share this great comment from a reader about my post:

Thanks for that insightful dialogue. I wish I knew what you’ve already grasp while raising my son as a single parent. He and I would have a better relationship and he would not be burden with the guilt of being a failure and responsible for everything and every body. You see as being a stressed out single parent I was quick to point out how his actions and attitude and wants and needs contributed to my already stressful and guilt ridden life. I wished I had taken more time to enjoy the wonderful and amazing young boy he was and let him now he was wonderful just the way he was and gotten him the help and support he needed along the way.

First, I was so thankful that she read and responded to my post. But, I wanted to say this to her and all parents out there…parenting isn’t perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. It gets hard. We just hope we don’t damage our children too much along the way.

I completely understood where she was coming from. My mother was a stressed out single parent after my dad left. It was hard. She took out her anger, stress and frustrations on me because I was the oldest. She may think of it differently, but that was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to have children. I was afraid of being a single parent.

Nothing is ever guaranteed. You get married and you don’t expect to get divorced or to have your partner die. These are life events that could totally change you. Adjusting is hard for some. Easier for others. I have a confession…it was hard for me too.

What changed? I knew when my marriage ended that I would never, ever, ever let my son feel like I did growing up. I was going to partner with him. I was going to make him feel loved, valued and appreciated. I was going to constantly remind him that he mattered to me and that my life would be nothing if he wasn’t in it. So, I do.

That may be why everyone thinks I’m a great mother, but I try. I try daily. However, it isn’t easy and some parents succumb to the stress. It is so easy to do so. In my mother’s case, she was busy working 3 jobs to keep a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on the table.

This didn’t leave her with much time to love, cuddle and nurture my little spirit. She was busy being the financial provider, disciplinarian and educator. She wore multiple hats and that didn’t allow her to be what I needed.

As a child I couldn’t understand the enormous amounts of stress she was under and how that played out in her parenting. It just created a wedge between us where I wanted to escape. I wanted to get far away from my “mean mommy” and find someone who could love me. But who? My dad wasn’t around.

When I met and married my son’s father I knew that he wanted to have children. More than anything he wanted to be a father. I agreed. We sat in pre-marital counseling and the Rev. asked “Do you know what her biggest fear is?” He replied “Yes, she’s afraid of being a mother. Which is crazy. She’s a phenomenal aunt and great with children.”

When I agreed to have children my biggest fears played out during my pregnancy and in the early stages of raising him. But, he was fine. He was doing things in his own time. I loved him for who he was…God’s gift to me.

When my marriage ended, I tried to protect him as much as possible. Some days were good. Some days were bad, but I never wanted him to feel like it was his fault. I keep children out of adult’s business and I’ve cried more times alone in my room while he was sleep only to wake up, wash my face and fix him breakfast. Life will go on.

I try not to let the stresses that I endure affect him. It’s easier said than done, I know, but I don’t want him to feel like I felt. That is my driving motivation to be better. To do better. I don’t have it all together and most days I feel like I’m winging it, but trust me it will get easier.

We just have to love and do our best. Parenting isn’t perfect. Each child is different. Each situation is different. But, you will survive.

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24 thoughts on “Parenting isn’t Perfect

    1. Aww, thank you. I didn’t want her to feel too bad because you didn’t know. I just want to encourage her and encourage other parents in similiar situations. We will have good days and we will have bad days, but we just have to keep at it. Parenting isn’t perfect, but it’s not their fault that our life wasn’t how they imagined. Just love and encourage them as much as you can.

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  1. This is a fantastic post and a good reminder for me to not worry about the washing and keeping a clean house 24/7 and just enjoy my kids. They are the most important things in my life after all.

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  2. Great post! Being a single mom is tough. I’m sure you’re doing a great job. I know us single moms aren’t perfect but we do the best we can. I try not to worry as much as I used to. It makes life a little bit easier.

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  3. Yes, it is tough. My son and I lived with my parents until 4 years ago! I was so scared I couldn’t afford or make it on my own. It was my own mind and thoughts that held me down. You got me wanting to post about it now. lol I feel bad because I would put pressure on my child when I stressed money. I know it’s good for them to learn they can’t have everything handed to them, but they don’t the stress too! It’s hard enough as a kid.

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  4. This post brought back so many memories of when I raised my three boys (now men) as a single parent. I remember saying at different times being proud to be the recipient of the Worst Mother of the Year Award because working full time and overtime there was never time to do all the things other mothers did with/for their kids. For example I remember my oldest son asking me to bake cupcakes for a party at school and when I told him we would be buying them from the bakery I got the “well all the other moms…” routine. A lot of times I felt guilty but then I’d remind myself that I was doing the best I could with what I had and being that I didn’t have any support systems it was tough but we made it. Today (at ages 30, 28 and 26) they remind me of the times I would take them to our local park can we would catch salamanders, or when I bought them hampsters (and wasn’t afraid to play with them). I tried to do all the things my mother didn’t do with me and though there were times I failed hearing them say that I did alright has let me know that I didn’t do such a bad job. Parenthood is one of those on the job training deals where you have to learn on the fly and remain flexible. Great post!!

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  5. What a wonderful post. I speak as a single mother of four daughters. They are all grown now (29, 25, 23 and 20). I never expected to be a single mother – who does? I was brought up in a stable and relatively wealthy environment. I beat myself up black and blue when I was raising those girls and I am so so proud of them for managing to turn into the beautiful, clever, funny, feisty young women they are inspite of my failings. I knew I could only ever be a good enough parent. I could never be perfect because there is no such thing. Your reminder in this piece to anyone reading is like gold-dust in the sand. Thank you

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  6. Children don’t come out of the womb with a book of instructions. It’s trial and error, do what momma did, and lots of online support groups. I have a special love for all single moms. My mom did it, and I still don’t know how — working in a factory from 5 – 5 every week day. For that (and so much more), she will never go without anything as long as I’m alive. Keep on keeping on, Sis. πŸ™‚

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    1. Yep, because sometimes the desire to seek perfection instead of just saying, I don’t care about the laundry or the kitchen I’m going to play outside with the kids for a couple of hours makes us feel like we’re bad mothers. However the kids will not remember how clean the kitchen was. They will remember all the fun times that you played with them.

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