I am not a night person.
When I say that I’m not a night person I mean at some point, after 7pm, I turn into a crazy, screaming, frustrated monster.
Evenings in my house can sometimes turn into the most chaotic hours of the day. More days than not, I end up yelling my kids into bed and I spend the rest of the evening beating myself up for allowing the day to unravel so quickly.
It’s often in the middle of the night that it really gets to me. I lay awake at night replaying scenarios in my head wondering what I could have done differently to prevent the chaos or the yelling or the tears.
I see the look in my kids eyes when I have disappointed them and I worry that I have damaged them.
I wonder if this is what they will remember about me, about their childhood, when they grow up. I wonder if one day, they will sit on the couch with their partner and cry about how, when they were kids, their mum used to yell at them to get into bed. I wonder if they will remember that I asked them quietly first. Will that part of the memory fade?
I often watch other parents and ask myself how it is that they can be so patient and I am so anxious?
I question how my career decisions will impact my family, worrying that my kids will wonder, sadly, why I have to go away again for work.
I constantly wonder if I’m succeeding at this parenting thing or if I’m failing.
Except when I don’t.
I have decided that I do not want to waste so much time convincing myself that I am the world’s worst mother.
Yes, I mess up. Quite a bit.
I’m impatient and short tempered. I hate laying in bed with my daughter while she falls asleep. Some nights, I have to force myself to read stories because all I want to do is read my own books. And, I often find myself so mentally exhausted by the end of the day that I have a hard time keeping up with conversations with my kids.
But, I also do so much good with them.
I play catch with them after dinner. I take them on spring hikes and fall walks. I have introduced them to the theatre and have taught them to ski. I watch really awful family movies for movie night when I really want to catch up on the latest British crime show on Netflix.
I have worked really hard to make sure that my kids have a great relationship with their grandparents.
I have given up dairy entirely, because my kids need to go dairy free.
I refuse to beat myself up over the mistakes that I make as a parent. It won’t stop me from making mistakes. All beating myself up does is shift the focus from the good I’m doing as a parent to the bad.
When I look at my children, I see that they are both good, kind, generous children. They are wonderful human beings who are filled with love and spunk.
Despite all of my mistakes, or maybe even because of some of them, they are growing into lovely people.
I will keep my fingers crossed that as they grow up, they will remember what led to my mistakes. They will remember that I asked them nicely to brush their teeth before I lost my temper. I hope they will recognize the exhaustion that overtook me and appreciate the walks to the park at the end of the day.
They will remember that I worked really hard to give them a good life.
When I fall down I promise I will get back up. I will dust myself off, apologize for what I’ve done wrong, and own my mistakes.
Instead of obsessing over what I’m doing wrong I am going to try and focus on all the ways that I’m doing it right.