Parenting. The place where perfect people go to crash and burn.
Seriously, I’ve yet to meet a parent who says they knocked it out of the park. I mean, a bunch of us think our kids are turning out pretty great and all, but there’s always that one thing…oh hell, who am I kidding, there’s usually a bunch of things we look back on and think huh, would’ve done that one differently if I had the chance.
As I’m constantly telling my kids, though, we deserve grace. We need to be gentle with ourselves, accepting we did the best we could at the time with the knowledge we had. I’m doing pretty well on this particular front…but that doesn’t mean certain mistakes haven’t dug a little deeper into my memory banks than others.
My most important role is as advocate for these babes ‘o mine. Not in a wrap them in bubble wrap, cushion their falls, pipe fresh oxygen into their rooms overnight sort of way. But I’m meant to champion for them. To speak up loudly and as often as necessary. To teach them how to grow into advocates for themselves.
I have one parenting regret in particular that sits in my gut. Times when I should have stood as their advocate, but instead I asked these sweet souls to carry a burden that was never theirs to bear. I actually required these kiddos to tolerate yelling from an adult.
I think back on it now and am beyond befuddled. We’re not talking about times when my kids showed their rear ends and got called out on it. Shoot, I do that all the time. We’re talking full volume, voice raised, yelling at my children, and nobody’s allowed to do that. Right, wrong, whatever – if it’s holler worthy then it should probably show up on my doorstep.
But that’s not what was happening. And I’m ashamed – deeply ashamed – to say that for years I told my kids to be tolerant of an adult who couldn’t control their temper. I asked T-man and Bear to be empathetic, to imagine what sort of stress pushes someone past their limits, to walk away if they needed space. Instead of advocating for my children, putting their well being first, I chose to make excuses for inexcusable behavior.
I eventually apologized to T-man and Bear, explaining that I never should have expected them to endure being treated like that. We learned a lot from that experience, not the least of which was that sometimes parents make mistakes, and we’re on the right path now. I’ve found grace in understanding once I knew better, I did better.