5 Parenting Lies I’m Tired of Believing

five parenting lies.jpg

1.  That I have to have it all together.

Truth be told, I am a mess.  Impatient, judgemental, quick-tempered and unrightouesly stuborn.  All things I’m working on.  But then there are just the things I am not naturally talented at, like crafting, or making things with my hands.  I am not the most eloquent of speakers, or the smartest, and numbers and I are like water and oil.  And that’s okay.  I’m tired of counting my weakness instead of counting my strengths.  Waiting and falling for the notion that until all the pieces of the puzzle of “perfect living” have fallen into place that it’s all a loss.  Nope, we DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER!  I don’t have to be good at everything, or have a Pinterest perfect life in order to have a good and beautiful one.  We get to be our beautiful, messy, selves.  A self full of strengths and weakness!

2.  That there is one right way to parent.

There are a lot of people with opinions out there.  To be honest, it’s quite overwhelming to me how many people really think they have the “best” way of doing something.  But that’s the thing, what makes your way the best way?  It’s just your best way.  That might not always mean it’s the best way for me.  Whether the issue is to vaccinate or not, to buy organic or conventional, to homeschool or go the mainstream route, to work or be a stay at home mother; there is always a hot button issue that we each take a side on.  No fault there, but please stop telling me your way is the right way, and I will stay clear of the same error.  You do you, I’ll do me, and let’s just encourage each other to use that nice big organ between our skull as we discern those big parenting decisions!

3.  That my child’s achievements are tied to my achievements as a parent.

My kids are still fairly young, but yet I already feel the pressure of “the achievement society.”  Ya know, that whole, “well my kid can do this thing” or “my kid won this award.”  Most often us moms (maybe dads too) are doing it to show that WE did a good job, that we measure up as a parent.  It’s not about our kid’s success or gifts, its about ours.  We want to feel like we won an award at parenting.  Vicariously we teach our children to over-achieve, to strive for perfectionism, telling them perhaps that “we want what’s best for them.”  Maybe that’s the truth.   But far too often, it’s not.  Sure, check your own motives, that’s not my place.  But I for one am not buying the lie anymore.  My message to my kids: do your best, be you, enjoy your life, learn hard lessons and do what makes you happy.  I’m not going to be pushing you to fulfill my dreams or earn my parenting star.  It’s just not right.

4.  That my children have to be priority #1.

Okay, this may come as a surprise to some.  But let me explain.  Do we love our kids?  More than words can say.  Do we sacrifice for them day in and day out?  God only knows.  Do we give until it hurts?  Umm labor, anyone?  Okay, point made.  But here’s the thing, being a good parent (for me), requires two primary elements.

The first is taking care of myself.  Making sure I have time for myself and that my needs are being met.  I know this sounds like a luxary, but that’s because we are told that our kids’ needs come first.  Well, tell me, how’s that working out for ya?  Are you losing your mind, pulling your hair out, running out of energy to play with your children?  Well, if like me, most often your answer is yes, maybe the solution is to take some time for yourself.  Ever been on an airplane?  What do they tell you?  “Put your oxygen mask on before putting on the one of your child.”  Airplane oxygen mask philosophy.

Okay, the second element, is my relationship with my husband.  My primary vocation is with my husband.  Our relationship being healthy and on-point is crucial to my role as a parent.  Not to mention that my husband helps me feel sane, makes me laugh and helps validate my concerns and worries.  All essential to being a healthy parent.  But again refer to #2 (there is no ONE right way to do it.)

5.  That I am always failing. 

Is it me, or are we constantly hearing the message of “Try harder.  Be better.  Don’t mess up.  Do more.”  Those words in themselves are not innately wrong, but the message I hear of “you’re not measuring up” certainly is.  I’m sure #’s 1 though 4 of the preceding lies all congregate here, but let’s just take a moment to dispel this myth.  Failing is not always bad!  I know, earth shattering, right?  Some of the biggest failures of my life have been the best lessons and the biggest motivators for healthy change.  Now failure has a pretty wide continumum, and I’m not talking about the extreme.  I am talking about the every day, and sometimes not every day lessons that have to be learned in parenting after we have made a mistake.  We are so ready to add up the things we “feel short” in throughout the day, but somehow fail to recollect all the moments of triumph or success.  Parenting is hard work.  Mothering is soul-wrenching.  Give it all you’ve got.  And know that that will always be more than enough!

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Mary

Mary is the wife to a creative, outdoors-man and mother to 3 precious children. She's got a sensitive, girly 4 year old. A wild, all-boy 2.5 year old. And a calm and patient 1 year old beauty.She loves fashion, wine and chocolate.And when she isn't blogging, she can be found cozy'd up on the couch watching TV.

Comments

  1. says

    Realizing #1 a while back totally freed me. I still have to remind myself that its OK to be me. God gave us our family because he knew I was the best mom for them. Every bit of me… all the non-organization, non- really healthy meals all the time, non- craft activity every day, all the short tempers and fears and intense love. All that matters is that I am who I am… that’s who my family needs me to be. They don’t want anyone else.
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    • Mary says

      Exactly, he picked you. And he picked me for my rambunctious bunch. We need not be anything else than ourselves!

  2. says

    Spot on on every point. I especially love #4. While I would do anything for my children myself and my relationship with my husband come first. For two reasons, one we I am happy and well taken care of (aka healthy,rested and not stressed) I can take better care of them and by focusing on my marriage my husband and I can give the girls a very stable loving home.

    The second reason is one day, barring some weird nerd living in the attic situation, they will move out and then I’ll be left with just my husband. I don’t want to find ourselves not knowing each other or being able to relate because I spent 18 years of our marriage focusing only on the kids.
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    • Mary says

      Haha “nerd living in the attic situation.” You’re hilarious! And yes, I too don’t wanna wake up one day and have lost myself or my marriage. My kids deserve my all, but also my healthiest!

  3. says

    Love this post. I could’ve used it earlier on. (Not your failure (: nor mine I’m thinking!) My girls are older and I still fail. Not sure that’s a comfort. The comfort is, tho, that I run more quickly and more thoroughly to God — He’s known all along how much I need Him to parent well (do anything well) – and that He’s the perpetrator and measure of “well” and that, well, I just need to rest and ask and confess and lean in. And start all over again.
    A great list, Mary.
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    • Mary says

      You are so spot on! He is our measure of “well” and is always calling us into our best. Isn’t it great that we have such a loving Father to teach us how to parent?!

  4. Molly says

    Yes, definitely. I still waffle about #4, just because I’ve come to realize that for me all three need to be in balance and that focusing on each one should be helping be better in the other categories. A little self care helps me feel good and more confident towards my husband, it also allows me to feel like a better mother. Continuing to foster my marriage gives a good example to my children, etc.

    I think my biggest is “I’m not my mother”. My parenting style, my life, my house is not my mother’s there are things she did that I’ll never master (ie the state of my house) and things that I do better (work/life balance) and that’s okay. x

    • Mary says

      Love your thoughts, Molly! And couldn’t agree more. We are such different mothers than our own (if for nothing else than generational differences). This is not a good nor bad thing, but a chance to claim our motherhood for ourselves! Keep up the great work mama!

  5. says

    Great post, Mary!

    I can’t even pick a favorite point, but more and more I am realizing how detrimental ‘me’ time and the relationship between my husband and I is. The more I foster those relationships, the more I become the parent I want to be.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :) xo

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