My younger brother got married to the most amazing woman this past weekend, and it was such a blessing to get to be a part of their day! I don't think I've ever been more excited abuot a wedding, including my own. But as the day drew nearer, I grew increasingly aware of the difficulties that would arise in preparing my 2-year-old daughter for her duties as a flower girl (and even more aware that I was probably not going to be super successful in that)...
Sure enough, it was kind of a stressful experience. I spent a good portion of the morning reprimanding my daughter while trying to get both of us ready to be in the wedding. And to add insult to injury, she ended up spending the entire ceremony at the front of the hall, begging me for "'nackies" (or M&M's, in case you were wondering nackies meant...)
I couldn't do anything about it without making a bigger scene, so I just stood there quietly trying to redirect her focus and not lose my cool. I was also just waiting for someone, anyone, to yell at me that I needed to get my child under control...
I felt like a bad parent.
And that's why I think it's finally time to share this post.
I’ve been working on this post for some time now, because I just couldn’t figure out how to say what I was really trying to say.
But I think I’ve finally got it.
Your children’s actions do not make you a bad parent. YOUR actions do.
Here’s what I’m getting at. I know a lot of parents, myself included, who spend a lot of time fretting over the decisions made by their children, particularly those made later in life - who they date, whether they save sex for marriage, whether they drink alcohol or not, whether they swear or not, what job they hold, who they are friends with, etc.
And these parents convince themselves that the choice their child makes in regard to these and other areas is a direct reflection of how well they parented them. And when the “wrong” decision is made, they beat themselves up a bit.
I’m sorry, but I think that’s horse pucky.
Plus it makes no sense. We can’t force our children to be a certain person and act a certain way. We physically can’t. So why would we place our self-worth as parents in something we have no control over?
But do you know what we DO have control over? OUR actions.
We can make sure our kids know just how important they are to us. We have the power to tell them they are strong and beautiful every day. We have the chance to tell them that they are forever loved and welcomed, no matter what choices they make. And when they do make a bad decision, we can hold them together in our arms, to keep them from falling to pieces.
That’s what makes or breaks a parent. Good or Bad. It’s what we do, not what they do.
So let’s give our kids and ourselves a little break. And let’s choose to love a little more and stress a little less.