So, the school holidays have ended and I wanted to reflect back on some of what I’ve learnt these past two months. For instance, I was reminded near the end of the holidays that, as parents, we will make plenty of mistakes – but that we shouldn’t let these mistakes get us down.
When my daughter gave me a skipping rope
My eldest daughter who is 7 and a half years old, has always had issues with her weight and her eating. She’s never been a child with a strong appetite. She chews rather slow and takes about two hours to eat a meal sometimes.
With all three of my girls being home for the holidays, I was reminded of the stress involved with feeding my girls – namely, my eldest. In the last week of the holidays, she’d been testing my patience and often left me feeling angry and stressed out. As a result, I hadn’t been my usual, calm self.
But when the school holidays had just ended, Alisha gave me a skipping rope that she’d made just for me. For 4 continuous hours, she’d spent linking loom bands together to make me something that she knew I wanted. That she’d heard me talking about for the past several months.
Loving your children for who they are
Alisha may never be a particularly good eater. She may always have a weak appetite and slow chewing habits.
But there’s more to Alisha than how she eats. There is so much more to her than her weight.
When she handed me that skipping rope that she had worked so hard on, I tried to hold back tears of happiness and also of guilt.
I had spent the last week of the holidays so focused on how Alisha was eating, I was forgetting to appreciate everything else that my daughter does well.
I forgot to appreciate her kindness and thoughtfulness. Her willingness to help. Her empathetic nature. The fact that she would do anything for those she cares about.
Alisha has written notes for her friend’s dad with the message, “You are a great dad. Thanks for inviting us to come over.” She has written notes to school friends who are unwell and asked how they are and said she hopes they feel better soon.
Alisha may not be a child that eats well, but there is so much more to her than that.
Realise that you’re doing a good job
When Alisha handed me the beautiful creation she’d made, it would’ve been easy to let the guilt consume me. For me to feel that I’m a bad mother for worrying so much about her weight.
But then I realised, her kindness in making me that skipping rope is a great reflection of my parenting. It shows that i’m raising her to be a kind and thoughtful child. That as hard as I was being on myself about my parenting, that I must be doing something right.
All parents make mistakes. All parents have their limits pushed and their patience tested sometimes. All parents make mistakes that they regret to some extent.
But rather than focus on what we’ve done ‘wrong’, we should focus on what we’ve done right.
You are not your mistakes
I don’t yell at Alisha every day for her eating.
But on most days, I do encourage her and try my best to be the calm and kind mother that she deserves.
So, remember this…
You are not just the mother who yells at their kids for spilled milk.
You are not just the mother who yells at their children for drawing on the walls.
You are not just the mother whose limits have been tested and wants to crawl into a hole and cry.
You are a mother who is just trying to do the best they can.
You are a mother who is still growing along with their children.
You are a mother who is learning and is allowed to make mistakes.
You are a mother, but you most definitely are not your mistakes.
This article was written by Thuy Yau, who is a freelance writer and mother of three. She is passionate about helping other Mums feel better about themselves. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter, and check out her personal development blog at Inside a Mother’s Mind.