Stephanie Pearce: Joyful parenting
June 16, 2013
I'm so thankful that kids are so resilient. I would like to think that I'm a good mom. Most days, I think my kids think I am, but there are some moments where I'm sure they could question my actions. That's when I hope they remember our joyful moments over my mishaps.
Being a good parent doesn't mean you're perfect. There were days I would totally lose it. I would like to say that I have it all together, but I don't. I hope that all parents know that there are no perfect parents out there. Sometimes you find yourself kneeling in front of them, cupping their face and telling them you know you've messed up and you hope they forgive you.
I know my son remembers one of these times very well. He was about 12, and we were driving our 45 minute drive home from town and he really liked to hear his own voice. So much so that he would make up raps (which I have to admit some days I really miss now that he no longer lives at home).
He would do this loudly and nonstop about totally nonsensical things. I had a very stressful day at work, and I asked him several times on that car ride to stop. I just wanted some peace. He just wanted to be the center of attention and laugh at me getting angry.
So, being the good mother I am and holding back my urge to smack him, I took a 32-ounce glass of water I had and poured it on him.
Yes, this wasn't my finest parenting moment. I do remember us having a talk about how I should have had more self-control and how when I ask him to quit doing something, for him to listen. I don't think the lesson took effect until he was in high school, though, because we continued to have this talk a lot.
I had pretty good parents, but I also remember pushing them to their breaking points a couple of times. They weren't sights I liked to see.
There were the ugly moments we made mom so mad on a drive somewhere that her eyes and cheeks were flaming red, and she was swatting air in the back seat while she drove to try to whack one of us for whatever mischief we were causing while we muffled our giggles in the back seat. I would much rather remember the times her heart was filled with joy.
I, instead, remember my mom singing. My mom always sang. She sang doing dishes, she sang in the garden, she sang constantly. It helped her find her joy. When I think of my mom singing, I smile because I know that no matter what she was feeling, when she sang her heart could be full of nothing else but the joy she was singing about.
I know that my kids can remember me in those moments of joy I spend with them, too. Like when my son plays his guitar and asks me to sing with him. Or when my daughter sits next to me with her phone and shares what's going on with her Facebook and texting while we giggle about the happy things going on in her world.
So, if you're at the end of your rope, close your eyes and think of those joyful moments.
Remember perfection in parenting isn't as important as joy. Parents make mistakes all the time, and these resilient kids will be OK as long as there are more joyful moments than mishaps.