When my oldest was born, I remember holding him in my arms, studying his sweet little being, thinking to myself how I wanted to be perfect for him. I wanted to be everything he needed, always be there for him and never let him down. I have since realized that my dream of being his perfect mother will never come to light. Instead I fail my sons every day.
And I’m okay with that.
We try so hard as parents to be the world for our kids. Never let them hurt, keep them from every danger and never let them experience disappointment. But the reality is that we are not perfect. We are imperfect people raising imperfect children. I wanted to encourage tired mothers today. You’re doing okay, ladies! Are you loving your babies? Are you trying your best? Are you making adjustments as you go to be better? Then you’re a rock star. Here are 6 reasons why it’s okay to fail your kids.
1.) I am not perfect.
I think it’s necessary for kids to know and understand that their parents aren’t perfect. We will be making mistakes and we might be apologizing from time to time. Not only is that okay, it’s important! I don’t think it’s healthy for kids to grow up thinking they are the only imperfect ones in the family, the only ones making all the mistakes and getting punished for them. We’re not perfect either and it’s okay for our kids to know that.
2.) It is a part of life.
I hate to break it to my sweet little babies, but life is hard. People with the best intentions will let you down. You will be disappointed. Friends will leave you hanging and your feelings will be hurt. There is no way around it. We can, however, help equip you for it. Learning how to deal with the disappointment and hurt in the home (that is bound to be there on some level eventually) can help kids learn to deal with it outside of the home. It’s a part of life and my mistakes as their momma, as much as I hate to hurt them, will help equip them for their life outside of our home. If it’s talked about and worked through with us as parents, hopefully the kids will be secure enough to come to us to talk through things happening outside of the home as well.
3.) It’s how they learn.
As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that we learn and grow more through the difficult times than we do in the easy times. There are a wealth of things your kids can learn from your mistakes. It preps them for conflict in the real world. They will begin to understand how to react when someone in their life makes a mistake toward them. How to be gracious, loving and forgiving. Also they will learn how to respond when they’re the one that made the mistake. How to sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness. To genuinely care for the person that they wronged. They then learn to love, have compassion for other imperfect people, how to forgive and move on graciously.
4.) They have a choice
Life isn’t always fair. It has never been and never will be. People will wrong you. People will fail you and sometimes even do their best to ruin you. But they can never take away your right to choose. They can’t own you. They don’t have power over you – only you hold that power. We have told our older son quite a bit you can only control you. If someone is mean, you can’t change that. But you do have the choice to walk away. You do have the choice not to be friends with that person. You have control over how you act. You can choose to let those people get to you and ruin your day or you can choose to move on and not give them a power over you. It goes for parents as well. Even as much as we want to be perfect for our kids, we will fail. We will give them mommy or daddy issues that they will eventually have to deal with in life. As they mature and get older, they will have to make a choice to let the mistakes made by their parents dictate their future or take control and pave their own way.
5.) Helps us grow along the way.
How do most people learn things in life? Were they told once and then thought, “Well, that sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll listen to that really good advice!” and then they did and lived happily ever after? Probably not. Most of us make mistakes, get up, dust off and try again. Sometimes we make the same mistakes again and sometimes we’re able to overcome these and move on. Parenting is a process and no one can ever say “I think I’ve got it all! No more mistakes here!” As we’re falling down and making mistakes as parents, getting up and dusting off to try all over again, we’re learning. Our kids are learning. And we’re all becoming better for it!
6.) God does the rest
The one piece of parenting advice that is the only one I really feel absolutely comfortable giving is be on your knees. When I realized early on that I wouldn’t be perfect for my little guys and the mistakes I make will be things they might struggle with their entire lives, I just wanted to give up. Then I realized, wait a second – my mistakes aren’t too big for God. He isn’t surprised or put out. He knows they will happen and — guess what? — he has a plan to use those mistakes to eventually better the child and even us in the process! He works all things together for good for those who love Him and I am so thankful for that. It’s my constant prayer that He will cover my mistakes and work in my boys’ lives to win over their hearts. That He’ll use our mistakes and turn them into something beautiful for His glory. I don’t know where it came from but the popular saying “do your best and God will do the rest” is quite fitting here!
Parenting is hard, isn’t it? I am sure that the majority of parents are really doing their absolute best. It’s just that the absolute best still comes with mistakes. It’s okay! I hope you’re encouraged that even in your mistakes your kids will be okay and even grow to be better little humans in the process!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!