Here I am again feeling like a failure as a mom because my house is a mess, my kids don’t brush their teeth as often as they should (sometimes not even once a day), they leave home with their hair in a tizzy looking like a ragamuffin, and working full time now I just cannot keep up with anything at home. I am certain many of you can relate. Sometimes I feel scared I am raising my kids wrong. Not just because of those little things, but because of bigger things. I look in the mirror too much – staring at my imperfections hoping they will just poof away some day. I don’t want them having that horrible problem. I want them to know they are beautiful without arrogance and feel beautiful inside and out. But that means I must model it for them. Oh some days I feel like a terrible model for my children! But that is every mom, every dad, every person. We all have our days where we just screw up and have to start over fresh the next day… Am I a failure as a mom when I mess up? Am I a failure because I just don’t do it all correctly every day? Will my kids turn out okay despite my mistakes?
The English dictionary says failure is (emphasis added),
1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success (Hey I thought you couldn’t use the word to define the word!?)
2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected
3. a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency
4. deterioration or decay, especially of vigor, strength
I included them all because they all say something a little different but in reality they are all the same. We expect something from ourselves and we fail ourselves; or that is what we sometimes believe: "I have failed".
But I agree with Thomas Edison:
I believe that when we fail, it is only true failure if we give up – stop believing in yourself or your goal, to stop hoping, to just plain stop working toward your dreams. The act of not getting back up once we have fallen is to fail. When we get up, brush ourselves off and keep pushing on that is the movement toward success.
So what, then is success?
Success is defined as:
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors (again using the word to define the word!)
3. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
They all say similar things – the achievement or accomplishment of one’s goals. So in my case success would be achieving my goals as a parent. This, however, requires that I have goals. I do not believe that success as a parent is to raise a perfect, well-balanced adult. There are so many factors that go into raising a child, to a teenager, to a young adult, to an adult. The older they get the more others have influence over them. Therefore I have landmark goals. I desire for my children to grow up to become Christian adults who devote themselves to God the Father in Heaven and follow the Holy Bible as it is written. This requires I model what a Christian adult is, as well as teach them now while they are young about the scriptures, as well as other similar tasks. Another goal I have for my children is that they love themselves. Not in some narcissistic way, or with arrogance; but rather in a true loving way where they both recognize their faults and appreciate their beauty and goodness. This is important to me because I struggle with this myself. I love myself but I have my days where I don’t like myself at all. I can be very derogatory toward myself. But I work hard to be positive around the kids and to help them see that Mommy does love herself, even if she has bad days.
So as they grow they will change to be some adult I did not make them into. They will become individuals somewhere along the way – each day becoming more and more like who they are meant to be. My adult child making poor choices does not define me. An adult has the ability to choose their own path. So once they “leave the nest” our job changes; it is up to them to fail or succeed. I am not there yet but I asked my Mom what she considered her job to be now that I am an adult. She said:
To be available for communication, be supportive, encourage, lift up when my child is down, to provide emotional support. And when things get tough, maybe my child even does something “bad,” the job goes on to be the same and to express extreme love to your child, despite the situation.
In the end, my hope for my children is that when they are all grown up, they will look back and see that the mistakes I made were just that – mistakes. Not some vendetta to ruin their lives. And that they will eventually become well-rounded, balanced adults. Who knows? Maybe one of my kids will do something that changes the world. But just existing and doing anything changes the world around them because everything would be different if one person was missing.
Let me leave you with this:
Keep pressing on.
Super Mama Maggie