When I was a young parent, I was very concerned about getting enough rest and finding time to work and take care of my children. Squeezing in time to spend with my children between work commitments and household chores was a major achievement. and it often seemed like there were never enough hours in the day to juggle all the tasks and joyful aspects of being a parent.
However, once all three of my children reached high school, I came to the realization that one of the challenging aspects of parenting is learning how to let go with love and to give my children enough space to learn from their mistakes. The following list of parenting blunders will illustrate some of the mistakes I’ve made and that my children have overcome in my over three decades of parenting.
10 Parenting Blunders:
- Getting worked up when my kids pushed to be more independent and criticized my rules.
- Placing more importance on cleaning our house rather than playing a game of Chutes and Ladders or checkers.
- Worrying too much about childhood milestones like when they would take their first step or speak in full sentences.
- Delaying my needs to have free time to read a book, go out to dinner with my partner; or go for an outing with a friend.
- Talking badly about their other parent rather than screening my thoughts and simply keeping my negative thoughts to myself or sharing them with a trusted friend.
- Buying cheap coffee rather than my favorite brands (saving a dollar or two backfired since I’d end up at Starbucks anyway).
- Feeling guilty about working late some days (even when they had tons of homework).
- Not saying “no” when my kids wanted an extra friend to go on vacation even when we were cramped for space.
- Letting my kids know that I expected myself to be perfect even when perfect parenting is a myth.
- Making sure that I ended every phone conversation with “I love you” because that’s the best punchline there is.
By the way, the best part of making this list of parenting blunders is realizing it’s okay to make mistakes and that there’s still time to correct some of them. While June may not be the perfect time for a New Year’s resolution, a half-way point is a good enough time to set a goal until January 2021 roles around. Actually going though my list has been a good experience and has helped me come up with a very meaningful new list of parenting goals for the next six months.
10 Parenting Goals for the rest of 2020:
- Embrace the notion that free speech is a basic human right and listening to my kids complain and exert their independence is healthy and normal.
- Play more games with family members (and/or my kids) when they are home because it’s fun and a great way to spend time together.
- Put simply: do my best NOT to worry about my kids so much!
- Practice more spontaneity with social events and read more every day since I love it!
- Keep working hard to respect boundaries and not speak negative works to my kids about their other parent.
- Buy my favorite brand of coffee to brew fresh daily whenever possible (to save money and savor!).
- Try not to work late (cause it’s exhausting) but when I have to, simply accept it as part of my profession.
- Rent or borrow a larger car for family vacations so space isn’t an issue.
- Let my kids know that I’m not flawless and don’t expect them to be perfect either.
- Do my best to end every phone conversation with my kids with “I love you” and don’t feel guilty when I forget to do so.
Terry Gasbard’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.