It seems to be that I very rarely hear parents say 'I made a mistake'. Maybe you are like me, someone who was raised by parents whom I idolized, who could do no wrong. I had a great childhood and my parents did everything in their power to raise a well balanced and strong woman - I like to think they succeeded.
I have a shit ton of worries as a mother. I don't know if any of them take the cake. I would say just keeping them alive is my biggest worry but I stress about making sure I don't raise little meanies that grow up to be bigger assholes (pardon my jargon tonight - I've had a glass or three of wine this evening). I worry about raising kind humans but humans who aren't afraid to kick a little butt when necessary. I want to raise a son who goes on to be a gentleman who treats women like queens and I want to raise my daughters to be queens who rule the world. But, let's be honest, I don't always get it right.
I juggle a lot in my everyday. I have three full time kids, a dog who drives me nuts, a husband who I adore and wonder what I would do without, and my writing career on top of my full time marketing career (both of which I love equally). Tonight I experienced a moment that caused me to reflect on my actions as a mom and my mission to raise well balanced kids.
My eldest kiddo was assigned a large project for school two weeks ago. She has been working on it and I have been reviewing and helping her with it over the last week. She realized today that she was missing a part of the assignment and there was a good chunk of work still that needed to be done. We started working on it and she went down to her room to work on it on her own and like many other teenagers, she tried and was moving at teenager pace. Slow. Not because she couldn't do the work but because teenagers are teenagers and the paint on the wall can be distraction enough to deter from any real progress. So after about 30 minutes I went in to check on her and...
"What do you mean you only answered one question? You will be in here all night and into the middle of the night at this pace!........." (you can use your imagination on the rest) She refused to let me help her and insisted she could do it herself and that I wasn't helping her. I instantly knew I made her feel awful and it killed me.
Needless to say, I handled it wrong. I only added extra pressure to her already loaded plate. Try and remember how stressful it can be at the age of 14. There are so many things that worry our kids at this age. My freaking out at her progress only made her feel MORE stress.
After taking time to reflect and ask God for guidance I did something that parents don't often do. I apologized. I apologized for adding extra stress. I expressed how I just wanted to help her do her best. I told her how sometimes it's hard to be a parent and that I too am just trying to do my best. I told her how much I loved her and how proud of her I was. I asked her if she would let me help her and guess what? She finished her project with me by her side.
I hope that she realizes it's okay to be wrong. It's okay to be human and I hope that she respects me enough to know that I will always apologize when I am wrong. Just because I am the parent, doesn't mean I am without fault. Tonight taught me a few lessons on parenting teens and sometimes we just have to listen - sometimes those little brats are right.