“I’m not a perfect parent. I’ll let you down and make mistakes. I’ll say one thing when I should have said another. But I love you…FIERCELY.” – unknown
I’m definitely not a perfect parent. I’ve yelled, instead of talking things out with my child. I’ve not followed through at times on consequences I said I would set. I’ve bribed by child with things I shouldn’t (such as desserts and toys). I’ve skipped pages in books, instead of reading the whole thing, and I’ve even said things that weren’t very nice.
To know where you struggle is a good thing, and it can help you grow and improve as a parent.
I obviously don’t look upon my struggles with pride, and many of you reading can probably relate. I usually will reflect on the situation after it happens and go back let my daughters know that I’m sorry and I made a mistake, or I’ll set a goal for myself to do things differently next time. Sometimes I succeed at doing things differently the “next time”, and sometimes I don’t… I have come to believe that this does not make me a “bad parent”. It is easy to get lost in all these things that you aren’t doing right, instead of paying attention to the things that you are. Believe me, even if you think you are doing it all wrong, you are not. The fact that you want to improve yourself, your patience and your methods means you are taking steps in the right direction.
When I force myself to look at the areas that I have succeeded as a parent, I truly feel I have done a good job. I have given my daughters the gift of compassion, sensitivity to life, an appreciation for healthy eating, the ability to speak up, stand up for yourself and follow your heart.
Part of these successes have been passed on simply because I love my daughters unconditionally. I tell them I love them consistently. I give them lots of hugs. I cuddle with them. I tell them how pretty, how smart, how creative, how funny they are, and I reinforce when they do something that is positive. I try my best to get down on their level, look them in the eyes, and talk with them when they are facing a challenging situation to help them work through it. I believe these gestures have partially contributed to them being the sweet and strong souls that they are.
My oldest daughter Divinaka, is “the helper” in her class. She is always wanting to help the kids who are crying or who are upset. She is also a “teacher” and likes to demonstrate to everyone how she thinks things should be done (shhhh. She didn’t get that from me). She is the sweetest big sister to Skyla. She tells her “they will be together forever” and “not to worry when she dies” (tears… see video below). She loves that girl so much. Both of my girls are animal lovers and lovers of life. They love other people and they see them as one and the same (thank you mom for passing this incredible value down in the family).
Skyla is 14 months. She is such a little hummingbird, so happy and calm and content and a TOUGH cookie. I am so excited to continue to watch her grow and thrive into an amazing human being, that I know she is.
Although we can truly never know how our efforts as parents will translate into the kids we raise until later in life, we can watch the subtle signs that are currently around us and continue to remain present to what is working, what isn’t and adjust accordingly. So far, I have been far from perfect, but my kids will have some everlasting values that this world really needs right now such as compassion, sensitivity, and leadership. This I will always feel proud of.
- Written by Cassandra Curtis, Founder and COO of Once Upon A Farm