It’s the end of the year, the crazy busy holiday season is over, and everyone is focused on their New Year’s Resolutions, aspirations, and goals for 2016. The trend this year is to pick a theme for 2016, something to keep in mind when you’re making your decisions and an overall idea to live by. So far, I’ve heard “gratefulness,” “faith,” and “hope” as themes. Others are going the more traditional route by preparing to achieve their weight loss goals, setting up a savings plan, or increasing family time. I recently asked my Facebook followers to think about what they did well in 2015 that they want to carry into 2016. There are lots of ways that people think about what to do when starting a new year.
Parents are always trying to find ways to be better parents. Reading every parenting book available, looking up the newest info on all the blogs, or getting involved in online forums are some of the common ways parents are able to improve upon their skills or find advice about specific topics. These are wonderful things to do. Gaining knowledge is very important, and understanding the many different ways to parent can be eye opening and incredibly beneficial.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2015, it’s that even with all this knowledge and information available, I’ve made plenty of mistakes as a parent. I’ve lost my patience, I’ve lashed out at my partner, I’ve cried at times when I wasn’t perfect. I’ve reinforced behaviors in my child that I later realized don’t align with my goals at all. I’ve messed up; I’ve felt completely defeated.
I’ve also laughed a lot with my little girl. I’ve bonded with her as mother and daughter, and with my partner as a family. I’ve done fun things and sung silly nonsensical songs. We eat at the same restaurant every Sunday morning. I’ve brought a smile to my daughter’s face. I’ve made her feel secure and loved, as evidenced by her running towards me, hugging me, and being a little anxious to venture too far, but also excited to explore new things. I’ve done well; I’ve felt completely overjoyed and proud. And I really want to carry that with me into 2016.
Parents are pretty weary of talking about their shortcomings with others, even their own partners, closest family, and friends. But all parents deal with difficult situations, trying times, and feelings of inadequacy. We all question whether we are good enough. My hopes are that getting this out in the open will help parents come together over this next year, that we will be able to be open, honest, and just a bit vulnerable.
We tend to cover up our failures and mistakes, or compensate in other ways. What if we were able to talk about these things? This is a throwback…do you remember the scene from the first season of Desperate Housewives where Lynette totally loses it on her three high strung boys, drops them off with the neighbor, and goes to cry in the park? Her friends come to talk to her, and she explains how hard it is to be a mom and that she feels completely alone and like a failure for screaming at her boys. To her surprise, her friends tell stories about how they have felt the same way, and the “perfect” mother of the group reveals she used to use her kids naptimes to cry. She realized she wasn’t so alone after all.
The point is all parents make mistakes. All parents mess up. All parents feel like failures sometimes. All this build up to reveal the most important thing you need to know as a parent going into 2016? Here it is, plain and simple:
You are doing a good job. Making mistakes is ok.
YOU ARE A GOOD ENOUGH PARENT.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist located in the Clear Lake area of Houston, Tx. I am dedicated to helping couples and parents work through the most difficult times in their lives to uncover how amazing their relationship can be. If you are considering therapy, call me at (832) 827-3288 for a free phone consultation. Let’s make 2016 the best possible year by diving in and making real change, starting now.