One of the great things about life with kids is that we are always being challenged to be better parents and spouses. We are far from perfect and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. And that's ok.
The key to maintaining some semblance of sanity is to remember, and accept, that some days are better than others and that tomorrow is a new day.
Today was one of those days.
I'm sure most of us start the day off with a positive outlook and hope that everything and everyone (our kids!) do what they are supposed to do. And while often times that does happen for the most part, it's evident that some days fall short.
We've all had those days when things just don't go as planned:
- the dog jumps on the bed far too early and lands his 105lb body on an entirely ill-fated and painful spot on your torso
- the kids won't get out of bed for school and you have to drag their legs out from beneath the covers
- the shower is cold
- the bar of soap that was left for you is the size of aTic Tac and you have to hobble from the shower to the closet in search of a replacement
- and because the shower was cold, the mirror wasn't fogged up and you got a glimpse of that gut that you have been trying to rid yourself of at CrossFit and immediately feel the need to name it
- while getting dressed for work, you put your shoes on before your pants - no judging
- the kids' whining about being tired starts before their feet hit the floor
- they can't seem to get their pants, shirt, or socks on (or off) their bodies - they just sit there dazed and confused
- they fight over the same shirt, the same pair of pants, the same hair brush and even who didn't flush the toilet (don't get me started on the girls hair)
- they scream, fight, hit each other, and generally do everything in their power to keep you in therapy
- they don't want cereal, they don't want waffles, they don't want oatmeal, they don't want THAT cup or THIS spoon - unless their brother or sister has it of course
- they act deaf when you tell them to do something
- they don't exactly brush their teeth but rather suck on a toothbrush and smear the blue gel on everything in the bathroom except their teeth
- they pee on the seat
- they fight over the bathroom even though there are three
- they forget their glasses so you have to drive back to school to drop them off
- But worst of all... the coffee maker is broken
Parenting is hard and while I've always said it's by far the most rewarding job I've ever had, it's also the most frustrating, difficult, and heart wrenching.
I certainly don't always handle every situation the best way and I often feel badly about that. But I know in my heart, that I try each day to do the best I can to love and support my vertically challenged little friends in every way I can.
Most days, I do a pretty good job.
But it's on those bad days that I have to remind myself that it's ok to not be perfect. You aren't always going to handle every situation in the best way. And you can't beat yourself up over it.
Instead, when I handle a situation badly, I try to talk to my kids about it.
Granted, sometimes their attention spans are limited and they may not even remember the situation, but often a simple explanation of what happened, why Daddy was frustrated, what we both could have done differently, and a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way. It teaches honesty and compassion. It teaches them, and reminds us, to own up to our mistakes and that's it's ok to do so.
It's easy to let kids do what they want. It's easy to justify our ill-conceived actions by thinking or saying "I'm the adult here - end of story."
That's the easy way out.
Parenting is hard. We make mistakes. But it's also the single most important gift you could ever give your children. Without it, all you'll end up with is a kid like that little punk Jimmy down the street.
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