Being Okay With Our Parenting Choices

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You are not supermom.

So stop trying to be.  You are who you are, you do what you do and all the big imperfect mess of that is exactly how life should be going.

Because it is your life.  It’s not anyone else’s life.  It’s yours.

I know that I struggle with and I hear from you guys that you struggle with this too:  Trying to be/do/have all of it.  Comparing ourselves to others, trying to do what they do, feeling bad if we are not there 100% all the time making the exact right decision for our kids. (or for ourselves)

Also the guilt.  For wanting something other than what we have decided is the best thing for our kids.

Ever notice how what YOU want and need sometimes conflicts with what our kids want and need.  Or what we THINK they want and need?

Case in point: I love, love love the whole vision/idea behind unschooling.  So for it.  I thought for sure that was the path we were on and what was best for my kiddos.  There was no way in heck I was EVER going to send my kids to school.

And, well, both my kids are in school right now.  Life happened and some choices had to be made and I chose to send my kids to school.

It is what I need right now.

I am getting divorced and decided to go back to school myself.  I need the break from them.  I am taking on alot (this business, school, being a single mom) and the little bits of time I get to myself – to think, work through my stuff, and figure out this new space of life – they are so needed right now.

Yes, I could have kept them home, and found ways to make that work.  But, that’s just not what I need to do right now.  Is this the best choice for them?  Who knows?  But it is the best choice for me and one thing I know is that I always have to put my own oxygen mask on first, or I’ll end up with nothing left to give my kiddos.  So, for now, this is the right choice for us.  It is my oxygen mask.

And, without that, there is no way I could be the mom I want to be for my children.  At some point down the road will we go back to homeschooling?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Part of me hopes we do and part of me likes this little break that we get from each other.

Do I feel guilty about changing my mind?  You bet I do.  Every now and then the guilt monsters creep in and make me feel like the worst mom on the planet.  I have some pretty fierce opinions about sending kids to school and now I’ve gone against that.

Which brings me to my point…

We all – each and every one of us – have ideas for how best to raise our children.  And we don’t always stick to that.  Which can lead us down the road of guilt and feeling bad.

My question for all of us is this – who says that doing x, y, or z will guarantee that our kids grow up to be happy, healthy and fulfilled?

The answers is – YOU do!

You are the one that decided it would be better to do one thing over another.  YOU are the one who thinks it.   But, I have news for you – that “right” thing is not “the truth.”  For every single thing that you think is best, someone else out there thinks that it’s a bad idea.  Who is right?

Making the best parenting choices is tricky.  And sometimes we don’t always do what we think is best.  Sometimes we make compromises or we change our mind.

Often, we just do what needs to be done.  Which is all we can really expect of ourselves.  There are SO MANY choices out there (too many, me thinks) and none of them are the “right” choice.

One thing that I know and am learning as I navigate my own parenting waters is this:  If I am not taking care of me, what I need and doing the things that have me be the best person I can possiblty be, then how can I ever expect to be an amazing mama to my kids?

I have to put my own mask on first.

And sometimes, that means going against what I have decided is “best” – but is it really?  Is the best thing the thing that has mama frustrated, exhausted, annoyed and burnt out?  Is the best thing the thing I have to force myself to do even though it wears me out?  Is that really what is best for my kiddos?

So many of us try to fit a square peg in a round hole.  Sure, you might read about something and think it so beautiful and inspiring and you are going to do that for your kids (or for yourself).  But, then when you sit down and do it, it just doesn’t feel right, it feels forced.   But we forge ahead anyway, because “it is going to be so great!!”

There is enough pressure out there to be the perfect parent, so stop beating yourself up when you fall short of your own expectations.  Remember that they are YOUR expectations.  You set the bar.

I think it is time that we start practicing more kindness with ourselves about how we parent.  We are doing the best we can do in any given moment.  If we could do better, we would.  You would, wouldn’t you?  And if you stop and take a moment and just be with your kids, they are doing pretty great.  Watch them, they are! They are awesome and you are doing a great job, mama.  You are.

So, be kind to yourself.  Forgive yourself.  Be gentle.  Yes, sure, I suppose we can all improve.  But, really, things are fine.  We are all doing the best we can.  It’s okay if sometimes you have to go against what you “think is best” to take care of yourself first.  Don’t you think your kids want mama to be well and nurtured too?  They do.

I am not perfect, and neither are you.  So, stop trying to be.  And remember to put your own oxygen mask on first.  The rest will take care of itself.

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