I am a horrible parent. The kind that my children will definitely swap stories about when they go to college, and I’ll win an unofficial award for the cruel and unusual punishment that I put my kids through on a daily basis.
Related: Can You Choose Happiness?
Some of the egregious offenses include:
Make my children read at home
Clean their room (hint: if you can’t see the floor, it’s time)
Go to school
See a tutor
Put their clothes in the laundry
Limit their iPad time
I even make them take their plates off the table after dinner and put them on the side of the sink.
I mean, I hear it all the time so it must be true: Worst. Mom. Ever. Life sucks.
It’s punishment, I know, to go on vacation and they don’t even get to choose where we go. To be forced to leave their tech at home when we go to a nice restaurant because they don’t need to be entertained 24/7. (Although, they don’t share that opinion.)
I’m awful, and according to at least one of them, I’m to blame for most bad things on the planet. (Now you know so it’s totally ok if you blame me too.)
Be grateful that you don’t have to worry if that’s you, the worst parent on the planet. It’s me. I’ve got you covered.
I offer to help with homework, and it’s as if I asked if I could post embarrassing pictures of them on Facebook. They’re repulsed.
When I suggest that they practice their math skills once in a while, they look at me as if I have 14 heads. Afraid that I do, I’m tempted to look in the mirror just to be sure I don’t.
I tell them that they’re good people, smart, kind and loving because they are. They hear something like, “If only you were a good person. Smart, loving, and kind would be great, but you’re not.”
I freak out. Adamant that I’m doing my best and they’re the ones who suck.
It doesn’t help. In fact, it hurts.
Nasty words become shrill screams and often tears. I wasn’t kidding about that worst parent thing.
My loving words are too damn annoying. I make them feel bad. It’s as if I’m forcing my super-mom-guilt on them simply by shining a light in their direction.
Thing is, if you ask my kids right now, this second, if I’m the worst they’ll say no, I’m not. I’m the best mom ever. Most of the time our life is more like puppies and rainbows than walking through a pile of shit. It’s just that when we step in it, it really stinks.
Here are the facts: Bad moments are a symptom of something broken that needs to be fixed before it’s too late. The story doesn’t have to end there.
Who do you love, that you’re trying to help with your unsolicited wisdom, and it’s doing nothing but hurt?
Should you stop?
The answer’s not cut and dry. Maybe for now it’s time to give it a break. That doesn’t mean stop forever. It means that it’s time to find another path.
There are times people won’t want your help. That’s reality. They’ll resent all of your pointers and “painful” rules. Also true is that you’ll feel lost when it comes to repairing a relationship that you didn’t think was broken and will try to make it right anyway. You’ll get frustrated, resentful and angry long the way.
Let it go. Life is too short to write a story that’s dominated by bad feelings.
Bite your lip.
Let the piles on the floor grow a little more.
Give them a chance to notice and want to make a change.
Learn where their bar is, not only yours.
Share your wisdom but don’t be attached when they ignore you. There are some lessons people have to learn for themselves no matter how much you just want to protect them from all of the bad stuff in life.
Mostly, do not let one person’s bad day or bad moment color your entire relationship. Ask them what they need from you; how you can help. Meet people where they are instead of where you want them to be.
They’ll learn and grow; you’ll learn and grow.
For now, my children love me, and I love them. A lot. Despite my worst parent ever moments. We all have bad moments and good moments. This worst parent ever knows that the good moments make all of my mom-ways worth it.
When they show up on my side of the bed at three in the morning and want to get in for the rest of the night, I let them. I’d rather have bad night’s sleep with a child who knows that they’re loved than a good night’s sleep because they don’t want to get near me anymore. They want to be there. Maybe I’m not the worst parent ever after all.
I show them what can be, open the door, and they need to step through it (no matter how tempted I am to kick them in the butt and force them through it.)
We humans are naturally drawn to the dark side and too often miss the light.
Look for the light. It’s there. If you can’t find it, shine it.
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