How do you know that you’re a good parent? Honestly. There is not test you can take to find out if you’re doing a good job or a really terrible job. I mean, you can look at your kids, see how they act, see what they’ve learned, and take stock in that.
There are plenty of times when I look at myself as a father and think that I don’t have a damn clue what I’m doing. I feel like I’m failing my girls and not making the right choices for them–or for our family. It’s an awful way to feel. It’s not something that I want to have floating around in my head.
Outside of reading as many books on parenting as possible, reading as many parenting sites and magazines, as possible, and talking to other parents, how are we to know what is right? What’s best, breast or bottle? How long do you wait to introduce solid foods? What if I have a picky eater? My kid is being mean, not listening, and is an all-around pain in the butt, how do we fix that? What daycare is right? Am I being a helicopter parent? All these are questions and comments that have come from me or others that I know. AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO KINDERGARTEN YET!
It’s hard to know if you are doing the right thing as a parent–be it discipline, nutrition, rules, etc. You don’t need a license to become a parent–you either procreate or adopt. It’s a learn-by-fire position, with many failures, and of course it also comes with its share of victories. You bring home your baby from the hospital and are terrified that first night. Especially when it is your first child. You have no idea what you’re doing. Are they in the car seat correctly? Am I driving too fast? Shh, quiet! Why are they making that noise in their sleep? You are learning as you go.
Maybe I focus too much on the things that I can clearly see that I’m not doing well, as many people do in many different areas of life. It can be easier to focus on the negatives, instead of seeing the positives in life. I’m not gonna lie, it sucks doing that. But, that’s the world we–or I–live in. I know there are plenty of things that I’m doing right as a parent and I should start to focus my energy there. But, those negatives jump out like a sore thumb because they can be glaring–especially when a kid won’t sleep or a kid throws a tantrum. There is evidence of you doing things wrong staring you back in the face.
I know that I’m not the only parent that feels this way. Hell, I’d be willing to bet that most parents feel like this on a weekly basis. But, I can live with myself and my parenting style knowing that I’m doing the best that I can and I’m always trying to learn–as is Sarah–what we can to be the best parents we can be. We’re preparing our girls for the world as best we can. When the day comes to let them out their on their own, I’m going to be confident in knowing that they can handle themselves.
Actually, thinking back on it–while there may not be a paper or computerized test we can take and pass for parenting–our kids are a living, breathing test. And pass or fail every single day.