Put parental disappointment in perspective.
Is this taboo? Can I talk about when this joyous thing called parenting is disappointing?
Whether you have a newborn who is screaming all night or a 40-year-old adult child living downstairs, there comes a point (well, many of them maybe) when a parent thinks, "Wait ... this sucks! I hate parenting."
Before you get offended, let me acknowledge that talking about the not-so-great parts of parenting does not in any way negate the amazing, heartwarming, life changing miracle that parenting is. Parenting really is a miracle. But, sometimes, it's also truly disappointing.
Often parents take on way too much guilt which, of course, only further impedes our good parenting moments. We are never off the hook as parents but that doesn't mean we are destined to a life of guilt, guilt, and guilt.
So, let's be real. Mom to mom. When you're having those super-bad days and you want to know where you can go throw in the towel, stop, take a deep, slow breath and try to find one thing that is good right now about your kid at this moment.
It's there. I promise you.
Often, when we feel disappointed, it's not our kids we are disappointed in, but ourselves.
When they do the crazy things that they sometimes do, it reflects on us and we are disappointed in our perceived failure to transform this ball of potential into a fully functioning productive member of society.
We're scared. Sometimes I actually tell my teenage son, "I'm not disappointed in you. You are awesome. I'm disappointed in me." (Don't try this with a toddler. It won't work.)
Even the best parents inadvertently create some emotional holes in our children because we're only human. Those holes give our children the opportunity to build strength, which is a necessary quality in a functioning adult.
A net without holes is not functional. What that means is that there is grace for our mistakes. We all make them and we will learn and our children will grow from them.
We lose the joy of relationships with our children when we are so focused on the end result.
The next time you're disappointed, try letting go of your idea of the finished product and focus on the beauty that's right in front of you. Focus on your relationship and the rest will take care of itself.
Dr. Zoe Shaw, a psychotherapist, coach and relationship expert helping people just like you who are struggling with what life is throwing at them. Don't try to do this alone. You can join my newsletter list for free relationship and parenting advice or schedule a free 30-minute conversation with me.
This article was originally published at Dr. Zoe Shaw. Reprinted with permission from the author.