When you become a mother, life will never be the same. You’ll get lost in the needs and wants of your child/children. And if you’re not careful you will lose yourself along the way. It’s easy to make mistakes because there isn’t a guidebook on motherhood.
I want to share with you mistakes I’ve made in the 26 years of being a mother to 3 boys. I share them with you because I want you to know you don’t have to give up who you are at your core.
In the beginning, I was too strict and then my child number 3 I was too soft. Finding that middle ground in giving them space to be who they are while maintaining a clean home, seeing them through school and pushing them to not fail was a struggle. This was all before the “what I know now” situations.
I had high expectations for my children, some of them even incredibly unreasonable and it wasn’t until my youngest came into the world I realized that I was actually pushing them away.
And I am not saying there shouldn’t be some expectations and standards, but there has to be a place of acceptance. Accept their personalities and figure out what works best for them.
For some, yelling may work sure but will it really?
For some, taking toys away and other privileges may work.
For some, talking with them allowing the space to process is needed.
Some kids are visionary and some are auditory and then some are a combination of that. This is their learning style. It matters when you trying to parent from a place of acceptance.
And they deserve to have some control over their own life.
What do they want to wear?
What do they want to eat?
Where do they want to go?
Your kids are not you.
Which leads me to the next point!
Until I stepped fully into personal development, I referred to myself as a mom. That was the identity I took on and was the biggest role in my life.
My own identity is a mix of being an artist, a writer, mother, immigrant, bi-sexual, visionary, coach, mentor, strategist, partner, friend.
We aren’t just one thing but we tend to forget who we were before we became parents.
I was an artist, a dancer and a musician. I had thoughts of my own that weren’t related to motherhood.
And we sometimes forget what we like to eat, what we like to do and hey we have friends we want to hang out with. But somewhere we got the message that the world needed to revolve around the kids.
Not letting them see the hard stuff
I tried very hard at the beginning for my kids to never see me cry or even fight with a boyfriend or my ex-husband. I don’t like conflict but I didn’t see how them seeing it was necessary to their own growth.
How could they ever handle conflict and resolve it if I didn’t teach them that?
And then as my youngest son was battling for his life in the ICU, the decision was made that the boys wouldn’t come to the hospital to see their brother on the breathing tube. It was hard enough on us adults and I couldn’t imagine my kids being exposed to that.
And that is exactly where I went wrong. I am filled with guilt and grief (I am working through it) for missing years on my two older boys because I was so wrapped in being at the hospital holding vigil.
My boys became angry with me for the same reason. There was a disconnect between us and it hurt like hell.
And yes, as parents its part of our duty to protect them but it’s also our duty to be real with them. To see the good, bad and ugly in this world whatever that means in your life. For us, the ugly was the reality that my youngest had to fight hard to be alive.
But I also know that we can’t do better until we know better. And while those were mistakes I have made, I am not letting them get in the way.
Mistakes are lessons in disguise.
So even you’ve made a few mistakes and feel guilty, let it go. Have a conversation with your kids. I’ve apologized for my own absence and my own bad behavior. I can’t take it back but I can do better moving forward.
So don’t be so hard on yourself!