My sister recently shared with me a very interesting article called:
Mothers: The 5 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself and it really got me thinking about my approach to motherhood and how i view my successes as a mother so I answered the five questions and would like to share them with you.
1. How do I measure my success as a parent?
When I first saw this question I really didn't know how to answer it, I mean my parenting, and mothering is still a work in progress. How do I know if I have succeed if my job is still not done and may never be done. However once I started thinking about a bit more I realized like the author of this article I did think of the obvious things like I will be happy if my daughters grow up and are happy, well rounded, individuals, but then when you look deeper, my success would be measured by the way I will allow them to succeed in there own right. To be happy is fine but did I give them the right tools and space to figure out things on their own, did I lend an ear, arm and shoulder but also did I say what others don't dare to. I want them to discover themselves.
2. What's the plan?
According to the article you need a plan to execute what you thought up in question one, I guess my plan would be to just be there for my girls, and guide them but know when to back off. I want them to be able to make mistakes without feeling they have let anyone down or owe anyone anything, so I would be a tiger mom when I have to be and a fan on the sidelines when I have to be. Finding that balance maybe hard at times but I believe if I stick to this plan that it will work.
3. What did my parents teach me about parenting?
This is a great question because a lot of the things we do when parenting comes from our parents and how we were raised. My parents while I was growing up had their traditional roles my mother, mothered and my father provided, because of these traditional roles my mother had to be, I see now, hard on us and make sure that we didn't get out of line in anyway so that my father who's purpose was just to provide didn't have to also discipline. Even though she had to be some what strict with four kids she also gave us time and space to learn things on our own. Not really sure if this was by choose or necessity but because of this my three siblings and I are as diverse and the same as they come. My father, it wasn't till I got older that I saw him in another light and saw that he is someone that I can talk to and bounce ideas off. So in my own mothering and parenting I take from them, some of the bad, I am a yeller at times which I am working on, but also the good, I give my girls room and space to try whatever they want and learn from it and I make myself available for them so that they will know that they can come to me when ever they want.
4. Are you at peace with yourself?
This question took me for a loop, like what do you mean am I at peace with myself and what the hell does that have to do with being a mother!!! I continued reading and found an amazing quote"In any relationship, you either contribute or contaminate 24 hours a day. You contribute when you feel empowered and peaceful; you're toxic when your own journey is tortured and troubled." It goes on to say that if you are not happy with yourself, if you are better and you say you won't be like that with your own children you are mistaken. I know now that my mother for much of my childhood suffered from depression, she struggles with it now, I see now how that effected me as I was growing up because of how she was towards us at times. If you think that you can switch off your feelings and act different around your children you are mistaken, they can feel more than you think and they know a hell of a lot more than we think they do. I myself am still trying to "find my balance", "find myself". I realize that I am at times too hard on myself and I don't want that to follow me as I raise my daughters, as I sit here today writing this am I at peace with myself? At this moment yes, will they be times that I will struggle yes, but like the article states if I love my children I will take care of their mother, so I have started in these past few months to put myself on top of my own priority list. I have realized by doing that it has opened a whole new world of possibilities that simply put make me a better, happier person and thus making me a better parent.
5. Can I let go of the guilt and do better?
Wow!! This question really makes you think. Can I let go of the guilt and do better! Many times as mothers, as parents we feel defeated when our child does something wrong, or isn't living up to the expectations that we may set. Regardless of what it is we take the blame onto ourselves. The article states:"To deserve blame, you must have intended your actions or recklessly disregarded the possible consequences. By contrast, responsibility simply means that you were involved and took actions that generated consequences, but there was no malicious intent." I know that as I parent I don't ever do anything that is meant with malice, so this turned the light bulb in my head. As parents we are constantly learning and evolving, I realize that when you know better you do better, if something you try doesn't work just keep trying something else until it does work. So can I let go of the guilt and do better, yes, yes I can. I know easier said than done and I know my days of feeling guilt are not over but now I know that if I just keep trying that feeling of guilt of blame will turn to just taking responsibility and just learning to get it right or on the road to right!