Have you ever had to deal with feelings of failure as a parent? Have you ever felt like you might not have done something the way you might have liked to? Have you ever felt like the job you’re doing as a parent isn’t the best you can do? You’re not alone in feeling like this. All parents have times of feeling like they failed at something along the way, and we all have to deal with how that makes us feel — but how?
Feeling like a failure as a parent is an incredibly hard thing to deal with, and we often try to compensate for those feelings by doing more than we need to or by withdrawing (depending on how you personally cope with things like this). Neither of these things is the best way to go about this type of thing, but if we don’t know any better, how are we to go about it? I want to share some key points that I’d like you to keep in mind when these types of feelings come up on your parenting journey, and I’d love to make sure that you get out of these situations better than when you started.
How to Cope With Feelings of Failure as a Parent: Key Points
The first thing that I want you to remember and keep in mind is this: you are doing your absolute best every second of the day, and you know that deep down. You know that since the very moment you became a parent, you have given yourself entirely to this role, and that you have made every single decision knowing that it was the best one for you and for your kid(s).
This is an incredibly important thing to remember when you begin to feel like less than the greatest parent in the world, because it is simply the truth. There is a voice in all of us that tries to tell us that the way we handled a specific situation or the decision we just made make us failures as parents and that we need to be down on ourselves because of it. But the way to combat this voice (of lies!) is by reminding yourself just how much you do for your family, and how much you have done right along the way.
Remembering that we all have moments that we’re less than proud of is a wonderful way to put things into perspective, and to realize that you’re simply human and that you make mistakes sometimes. This fact doesn’t make you a failure as a parent, and it never will. It simply means that you have learned valuable lessons from your mistakes, and that you have had the opportunity to grow through them.
That point takes us to the next thing I’d like to tell you, which is that we need to look at mistakes that we make along the way as learning opportunities. There is no manual on how to be the perfect parent. There is nothing that can fully prepare anyone for parenthood, and this leaves us with a lot of unknown and unforeseen circumstances as we embark on the journey of parenthood. So when you make a mistake or handle something in a way that could’ve been handled better, make note of it, and remember the situation when others arise.
If we never made mistakes or messed things up or handled things badly, we’d never learn anything! There is nothing better than learning through our own experience, and so making mistakes as a parent only makes us all better parents in the future. Of course, keeping the mistakes to a minimum is always optimal, but given that that’s impossible for humans, looking at those mistakes in a different light will benefit you in immense ways.
Another thing to keep in mind throughout the entire experience is how much your mentality and outlook affect how you feel when you do make mistakes. It is important that you’re not down on yourself for how you handled something or a decision that you made. This will only make you scared to make another mistake, and it will also begin to consume you mentally as you inevitably make more little mistakes as time goes on.
Accepting that you might not have gone about something in the best way possible, and forgiving yourself for it as soon as you can will help you in many ways. You’ll be able to move on from the situation much more quickly, you’ll be able to ask for forgiveness for the mistake (if needed) sooner, and you’ll be able to use that experience as a chance to grow much more readily than if you were down on yourself.
Plus, it’s important to remember that your mentality and your attitude greatly affects the family environment. Therefore, if you go about parenting after whatever mistake you think you might have made with an attitude of fear or anger or self doubt, that will reflect on the overall mood in the household, and it will affect the way you do things afterwards in a negative way. So try to make sure that you forgive yourself and use it to improve instead of being hard on yourself and then make decisions out of reaction to that.
We all make mistakes as parents. I’ve battled with these feelings a lot throughout my journey as a parent, and I can tell you that I didn’t always take being an imperfect parent well. But I soon realized how this affected the way I went about my day and my tasks, and I saw how me being hard on myself came out in ways that only made me feel worse. Therefore, please remember that you’re not alone in this, and that we all have to go through trials throughout our lives as parents.
The last thing that I want you to remember is how good you’re doing. You’ve done an amazing job as a parent. I know you’ve committed every little aspect of your life to being the very best parent ever, and that you’ve achieved that a hundred times over. Your children love you. You are their parent, and you’ll always be their biggest supporters. They know how much you love them, and they know how much you do for them. So go into the next situations with this in mind, and take the trials as learning experiences.