If parenting has taught me anything, it is that you have to take ownership of everything you do and say, and you will be held accountable. Period. Kids remember everything. They remember that time you chose to sleep in on a Saturday morning, they remember when you didn’t eat your vegetables, and they remember when you forget to (insert a mundane task here.)
Thankfully, they also remember all of the good things you do– but those aren’t the things that require ownership. If you are a parent that needs your ego to be stroked by your child, reevaluate. If you ever ask your child “Do you love me?” or “Are you mad at me?” or “Do you think we have a good relationship?” then you know you don’t. That is where you need to take ownership of your actions.
Unfortunately, I know parents who ask those questions. Who pit themselves against their co-parent(s) because they need validation. To all of the parents who are working their butts off to give their kids a good life: you are amazing. Keep going! You are doing it right! It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always feel good. But your kids are your priority, and they notice and feel that. To all of the parents who question their abilities and have reason to: this is where accountability becomes imperative.
Of course, it takes two to tango, and maybe because I don’t have any biological children, I am off base, but if you choose to have a kids, it is your choice to take ownership of your relationship with them, and if your relationship fails, you are the one who is accountable– not your children. And each time you pose a question to them about how they feel about you, you are inevitably guilting them, regardless of their answer, and misplacing the accountability.
I made the active choice to be a mom to two children, I did not go through a pregnancy, raise them from infancy, or do any of the other things that essentially imprint them on you– so this may be harsh– but if you are not positively contributing to your children’s life, leave. If you think you aren’t a good parent, you may not be, and if you are doing more damage than not, please try to pause, step back, and objectively view the situation. The best friends are the ones who are comfortable enough to tell you when you are wrong– can you provide yourself with the same feedback?
When we talk about doing what is in the best interest of our kids, and helping them to become the person they are, it is perfectly okay to take ownership of your own feelings and say– I don’t want this life. If that is the case, make a clean break. Parenting is not easy, and it is not for everyone. Your kids can tell that they aren’t your priority. They can tell you aren’t happy. It doesn’t matter how much you claim to love them, or actually love them, you are doing them a disservice.
Every time the introvert in me wants to hide in my room, I feel guilty. Regularly when I close my door to lay in bed or watch TV alone, my kids end up coming in to snuggle with me or just say hi. Remember that as a parent you have a duty to role model, support, grow, and educate your children. Your job is to help them. Hold yourself accountable when you aren’t doing those things…your kids will.
“Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which
you cannot visit, not even in your dreams,
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life does not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves
also the bow that is stable.”