One of my biggest parenting goals is to teach my little girl that it’s okay to fail. Clearly, I don’t want to see her fail but I know that fostering resiliency and the ability to pick herself right back up are invaluable lessons on her journey to adulthood. To do this though, it means I need to be real with my kid. I need to fess up when I make a mistake and show her what it means to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on keeping on ya know?
This post was inspired by a lengthy exchange I had with a fellow pool mum. One Sunday morning at roughly quarter to 9 I hauled myself slowly up to the observation deck dressed in beat up sweat pants, yawning and with a strong coffee in hand. I may have slept in those sweats the night before – I can’t really be sure at this point. Let’s go with, I rolled out of bed because I had overslept and freaked out because my kiddo was not ready for her swim lessons that morning. Despite my instinct to want to skip swimming I threw together her stuff and managed to make it there on time.
Now, back to that conversation. Fellow pool mum, who was dressed in real clothes, was sporting a gorgeous blow out and perfect makeup decided to strike up a conversation with me about parenting. What started off as simple questions about Margs turned into a full blow conversation about feeding, sleeping and socializing.
Nope. I didn’t breastfeed my kid.
Nope. She doesn’t sleep in her crib.
Nope. She isn’t in Montessori and we don’t practice any of that at home.
After the lesson we both made our way down to the pool deck where we were each handed a swim certificate in honor of our littles completing their first 8 weeks of swimming. Immediately, a conversation ensued about meeting the benchmarks for this swimming level which included: jumping unassisted off pool ledge, submerging under water and starting to kick feet in the water. Margs only met one benchmark: submerging under water while her kiddo met all three. I was then asked if I was disappointed that she “failed” the level.
Nope. Not at all I responded.
I left there feeling somewhat like failure and questioning whether I should have higher expectations until I realized that anytime we start playing the comparison game nothing good comes from the situation. Self-doubt sucks. Self-doubt when it comes to parenting and decisions in general sucks even more. See, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I don’t pretend to do everything right. All of my adult life, I’ve approached everything in my life with a trial and error approach knowing full well that at certain points I’d make mistakes and have to learn how to solve them.
Who cares if Margs didn’t meet all the benchmarks. She’s eventually blow them out of the water. Eventually. And, that’s okay.
Pool mommy taught me a very valuable lesson that day. She taught me that I do not for one moment want my kid to think I expect her to have it all together because I surely don’t. I do not want Margs to view me as some benchmark figure in her life. Instead, I want her to see, know and acknowledge my faults and mistakes with me so she can see, know and acknowledge how I make good decisions and choose to overcome them.
Mommas need to be real. They need to admit when they’re wrong and teach their kiddos that being wrong is okay. Making mistakes or not succeeding the very first time is part of life isn’t it? But, what happens when kids are given the impression that perfection is the standard and anything less is a failure? Are we not setting them up for a world of disappointment?
Mommas need to be real so our kiddos aren’t afraid of failure.
Mommas need to be real so our kiddos are comfortable coming to them for support.
Mommas need to be real because motherhood is a tribe and anything else creates unnecessary comparison and self-doubt.
Mommas need to be real because there is no perfect mother out there.
Mommas need to be real because parenting is the hardest job their is and we need to hold on to a sense of community.
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Tell me, why do you think mommas need to be real?