Last week I made a post about the lessons that I want to teach our baby girl. I think it only follows that when you think of the things you want to teach your little one you also think of the things that you don’t want to teach them or let them see. You don’t want to make mistakes in front of your child. We all (for the most part) grow up thinking that our parents are invincible. They are our doctors and nurses. They are monster fighters. They are our comforts. They are our everything. No matter how wonderful and amazing they are, parents make mistakes. They make mistakes from day one. Babies don’t come home from the hospital with a handbook and instructions in English and Spanish. I asked.
We as parents will try everything in order to hide these mistakes or shake them off like it doesn’t kill our soul that we may have done something wrong when it comes to kids. There are some mistakes that you can control and then there are others that you can’t control because you’re a human damnit. You make mistakes. I know I will make some of the mistakes I list, but I’m in the happy 33 week pregnancy bubble. I’ll let you know how I’m doing in another 10 weeks. Here are a few mistakes that I hope I don’t make with my kids. I say kids because Tim and I already know we want more than one child, let us dream.
Here we go:
1.) Calling my kids brats when they are acting out. Okay, so my only real parenting experience has come from raising two somewhat special cats. I know cats are not human children but I still try to parent in a way. When they are whining for food before feeding times or playing with things they shouldn’t my first reaction is, “Stop it! You’re being a brat.” I don’t want to do that with my kids. I hated being called a brat because I didn’t think I really was a brat. I agreed that I was being ridiculous or out of control but I didn’t think I was a brat. Brats are kids who have amazing upbringings and still whine and yell about the things they don’t have and want. They don’t care about others and what these people had done for them. I don’t want my kids to feel that way.
2.) Making them feel like their emotions are insignificant. Sometimes when kids act out or have a huge melt down a knee jerk reaction is, “Stop crying. It’s not that big a deal.” when in their reality, in their world at that moment, it’s a huge deal. Kids are kids. They don’t know what huge deals are yet because they haven’t been around long enough. I don’t want to dismiss those huge deals because I want them to recognize when they are melting down and how to fix it. If you’re feeling this way, let’s try this to calm it down. Don’t get me wrong, in bed I’ll look at Tim and say, “Eva today flipped out because she wanted blueberries in her cereal. I put the blueberries in the cereal” and have a good giggle at it.
3.) Bringing our grown up problems to our kids. I feel like we’re trying to make kids grow up too fast in many ways. They need to achieve more. They need to prove themselves more. So on. I don’t want to add to those pressures. They will probably hear, “I’m sorry, love. That’s not in the budget this month” because they should understand what that is. I don’t want to tell them that we can’t do A B or C because daddy and I did D E and F wrong. They deserve that invincible image as kiddos. Our problems are our responsibilities, not theirs.
4.) Letting them think that I think having a clean house is more important than they are. From what I’ve been told and watching my bonus nieces grow, kids grow up in less than a blink of an eye. I like having a clean house. I like having non broken things. But I am telling you right now, I will LOVE having my children. If there is vacuuming that needs to be done but they ask me to play one more round of Candy Land, I will play that one more round. I will do it because someday they will not ask me for another round. They’ll ask for a longer curfew. I will do it because vacuuming can wait another 45 minutes. I could have another 45 minutes with them that day.
5.) Being overprotective of our kids. I am an independent gal. My sister is an independent gal traveling the world. My parents obviously cared for us and loved us very much but in no way did they suffocate us or become the dreaded helicopter parents. By the time I was 13 I knew how to do my laundry, make a lunch, was teaching dance classes, and walked around town by myself. I worked and lived at summer camp for whole summers starting at 15. While I’m sure they weren’t huge fans of letting me go for whole summers, I went to college without issue. It wasn’t that big an adjustment honestly. I want my kids to feel that and be proud.
6.) Not letting Tim be the father he wants to and is meant to be. We were at Goodwill last weekend and Tim saw a coffee table he liked. He showed it to me and without even thinking I snapped, “No. I don’t want glass top around her” and walked away. I know that he wasn’t upset about it and understood. I don’t ever want him to feel like I make all the decisions for our kids because I feel like he’ll make the wrong ones. Tim is an amazing husband. He’ll be an amazing father. I don’t want to take that from him, ever.
7.) Trying to be the perfect mom. I am a perfectionist. Everything I try I try to do it perfect from the gate. If I can’t, I give up on it easily. Being a mom means being imperfect at some point. That notion alone terrifies me. At the same time though, my kids need to see my imperfections to know that their imperfections are who they are. I need to work on myself and be who I truly am. I need them to know who they are is amazing. I need to show them that through example.
8.) Not doing enough. On the flip side of being perfect I am also so so so so scared that I won’t do enough as their mom. I won’t be enough. I feel it now. I have been told over and over that I am doing everything humanly possible to get my gestational diabetes under control. There’s nothing more I can do, but I want to yell, “There has to be more! She deserves more!” I feel like there is something I’m not doing and everyone is missing it. I have a feeling that feeling won’t go away any time soon.
9.) Oversharing the struggles of parenting on social media. As I’ve admitted in the past, I overshare. It’s not my favorite trait of mine, but I be who I be. What I don’t want to be is a parent who complains about how awful their kids were that day, everyday. I don’t believe that’s what social media is for anyway, but the idea that my kids could look back and see it kills me. Every parent hits a saturation point, it’s being a parent. My kids don’t need to see that saturation point for being kids.
10.) Letting my own self-image issues carry onto them. This is for daughters and sons. I’ve had self-image issues for as long as I can remember. For the first six months of my pregnancy I was devastated to think people thought I was just super fat. In high school and college I let it control me at times. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I learned how to be a healthful person, eat healthfully, and accept that my body is fine the way it is. I don’t want my kids to be in their mid-twenties when they figure it out.
11.) Not finding the middle ground between, “Rub some dirt on it” and overreacting to situations. Being raised tough is great. You get complimented on it for the rest of your life. Being tough has downsides though. You put off going to the doctor’s for way too long. You put up walls because you don’t want to seem weak. You hide how you are really doing. Overreacting isn’t great either. Being that stressed out all the time gives you ulcers. People not wanting to deal with you. I want my kids to be in a nice middle ground. Take care of themselves but not expect the rest of the world to do it for them.
12.) Listening to other parents solely and ignore my own voice. Just being pregnant I’ve gotten tons of advice about what the best way to do things for my kid is and she isn’t even here yet. I’m super excited to have strangers say something to me in the grocery store. At the end of the day, people can say whatever they want. That’s their freedom. It’s when I cling to all these pieces of advice that I am doing a disservice to myself, Tim, and our kids. We need to be confident in the decisions we make as parents and not falter every time someone says something. Our kids need to see that part of our parenting or they’ll roll their eyes every time we say something. I’m very wise children, you should listen to me and dad, obviously.
What are some mistakes you’ve made with your kids that you wish you could have avoided? What are some mistakes you hope to avoid?