You Are a Good Parent Even When You Fail
One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is dealing with the guilt and remorse we feel as Moms. Seeing your kids sad and hurt is a painful experience because your instinct is to protect your kids from feeling any unpleasant emotions. We feel responsible for everything, which is a lot of pressure to bear, and now we’re a single parent on top of it. Whatever our thoughts/attitudes we hold about our ex, it’s an adjustment to be the only adult in charge. We may feel that we’re failing on a daily basis. But, our kids don’t benefit from our guilt, because then we are not functioning from a source of strength and wisdom.
Instead of succumbing to the critical, judgmental voice in your head which tells you “you’re the worst mother ever” and “your kids are going to be so screwed up because of you,” I want you turn it around. Challenge those thoughts with this question: “Would a bad mother worry about being a bad mother?” And “Why do I think I have complete control for how my kids turn out?” “How true are any of these thoughts?” All thoughts are 100% optional, so question the ones that put you down.
I used to suffer over the turmoil caused by my divorce which uprooted my kids from the place where they’d grown up. As a single parent I’ve struggled with managing sibling rivalry, controlling my emotions when feeling overwhelmed, confusion over discipline. But, I was always trying to improve and figuring out how to do “it” better the next time. One day I realized that making mistakes is how we learn to be a better parent. Now I know I’m good parent even when I fail, because it makes me try that much harder. I bet the same is true for you, too.
When we start questioning those thoughts, we might discover new thoughts that make us feel competent, peaceful, and forgiving. Instead of blaming ourselves for failing, we can choose to be excited about the process of parenting: how can I do this better? What do I need to learn to improve this situation? Who is available to help me with this problem? Be proud of yourself and for that fact that you never give up. Don’t listen to the part of your brain that says you’ve failed; instead recognize the wisdom you’ve gained, and the resilience you’ve developed. You are being an excellent role model for your kids by working on yourself and continuing to grow. So, look at your parenting failures as bumps in the road that hone your skills, teach you how to be compassionate with yourself and demonstrate that you are a dedicated Mom who will never give up on herself or her kids.