Let go of this.
If you’ve ever read anything on parenting, you've you have definitely come across the concept of unconditional love. In fact, it's probably the one constant across the myriad of different parenting approaches, techniques, and theories.
We may be into spanking or against it, using a naughty corner or not, subscribe to attachment parenting or be an advocate of kids learning independence ASAP, but what we all tend to agree on is that we should be unconditionally loving. We may not agree on how to show that love, but we do agree that unconditional love is an essential element of parenting well.
This is one of those honored concepts that I like to poke holes in. Why? Because it's a myth and a myth that is likely to make you a very unhappy parent.
You see, I do honestly believe that at our true core, we are unconditional love. It isn’t something we need to do, it is something that we are. I don’t really care which religious background you come from, at the core is always the concept of love.
So my argument is that if unconditional love is something that we already are, that we know intimately, that is our essential essence once we remove all the additives, then why would we come to this human experience to get more of it? I don’t think we would.
I think that we come here to see what it’s like to not have that, to see how we would behave if we were the opposite of who we really are. I think we come here to play with human love, with messy, inconsistent, unpredictable, crazy love.
Being an unconditionally loving parent is tantamount to saying you need to be a perfect parent. We are going to fall short. And if that is our ideal, then we’re also going to judge ourselves and find ourselves to be lacking. And to me, that’s quite the opposite of what love really is anyway.
Love is forgiving. Love is allowing. Love is seeing the beauty in our imperfections and not trying to pretend they don’t exist.
Now, I know you’re not about to run around trying your hardest to be unloving — that's not in our nature. What I am suggesting is that we can take the pressure off and drop the guilt, self-judgment, and sadness that comes with striving for mythological perfection.
Know that you will be loving at times and at other times you will mess it up. Know that your kids will survive and even learn from this. Know that everyone else on the planet is falling short of unconditional love too.
Know that you are OK as you are. Know that the flawed, human, fluctuating, confusing love that you are managing is enough.
Love yourself unconditionally enough to not love unconditionally!