In a meeting with a mother this week during parent-teacher conferences, she told me, “I did a great job” related to an aspect of her parenting.
I loved this. I love it so much, and I said so. “I love that!” I told her. “Not enough parents give themselves credit for the job they do! I wish more people would talk like that.”
I may have even used an expletive or two when expressing my appreciation.
But it’s true.
So often, parents are saddled by guilt, uncertainty, fear, and doubt when, most of the time, we’re doing a fantastic job. Our kids are happy, healthy, kind, well-adjusted human beings with flaws and foibles that have nothing at all to do with us.
They are simply human. Imperfect beings operating independently of us and sometimes in opposition to our own preferences for them. They make mistakes and do stupid things and forget everything we told them. But none of this is our fault. They are not clones or robots or made of clay, capable of being molded into exactly what we think they can or should be.
They are simply, tragically, relentlessly human.
Even if you’re allowing your child unfettered access to a phone and internet, sending them to school with four bags of Doritos, three cheese sticks, and a Snickers bar, failing to assign and enforce a reasonable bedtime, and forgetting to attend their parent-teacher conference three times this week, you’re still likely doing a great job as a parent. You’re almost certainly loving, guiding, and helping your child to find their way through this world.
Admittedly, you could probably be doing better if the list above describes you in any way, but even so, I’m confident that there are aspects of your parenting that should make you proud, and you speak, shout, and sing that pride to the world.
Parents don’t give themselves credit. I suspect that mothers need to hear this most of all, which made this mother’s statement so surprising, refreshing, and needed this week.
So don’t be afraid to give yourself credit. Don’t be ashamed to tell someone you’re crushing it as a parent. Even when every parent around is lamenting their choices, bemoaning their indecision, and obsessing over their failures, stand up. Stand out. Be that beacon of pride and positivity in a world of wallowing negativity.
Parenting can be hard. It becomes especially hard when we ignore our successes and simply focus on the failures, the possibility of failure, and the everpresent doubt and uncertainty.
You’re crushing it, parents. Tell yourself so. Speak the words aloud. Tell someone else, too. Make the world know that you’re doing a hell of a job as a parent, no matter what dumb thing your child may do today.