I have come to learn that my parenting strategy is 60% intuition, 30% faith, and 10% dumb luck. Although, sometimes it feels a bit more like 100% faith. Faith in myself, faith in my children, faith in my support network. Faith in anything I can find to throw my faith into. And, other times this parenting gig feels a little more like 90% dumb luck and 10% red wine. (Well, maybe 80/20. Or, 70/30).
Early in parenthood I worried about getting it right all of the time. Finding the perfect balance for myself and for my family. Perfectly maneuvering each challenge along my parenting journey. And then something really crazy happened; I kept getting it wrong. Despite all of my efforts to do the exact right thing, to be the exact right mother, I was still getting it wrong from time to time.
For a long time I let myself believe that this was a parenting flaw. I told myself that perhaps I was not enough. I needed to look deep inside to be more. To do more. To be a version of myself that always got it right. I just could not understand how all of the pieces of my life did not form the perfect puzzle I always imagined they would.
And, after feeling like that for a while I decided to give myself an amazing gift. I let myself surrender to the idea of the mother I thought I “needed” to be and I started to become the mother I actually was. I stopped worrying about getting it right all of the time and I started giving myself permission to make mistakes. I accepted that perfection was a moving target. And, one that I was likely not going to reach.
I began to see the pieces of my life in a very different way. Maybe not the perfect puzzle that I always envisioned, but somehow in all of the perfect imprecation, all of the pieces still fit.
Some days my intuition fails me. And, at times my faith has limits. I know that dumb luck as a parenting strategy is far from fool proof. And since none of my parenting strategies are perfect and without flaw; I give myself permission to do the best I can. To celebrate when I get it right. To recover when I get it wrong. To be something less than perfect. To live a life that is great, even when it is messy.
There are a hundred moments a day that test my strength as a mother. I get it wrong way more than I get it right. I replay conversations from the day and I think about all of the ways I can improve them next time. I give myself permission to get it wrong, and I hold myself accountable to do better next time.
Because parenting is an evolution. It is being the best version of yourself in any given moment… considering any number of obstacles…amongst any number of limitations and hardships.
Parenting is trusting intuition. Parenting is having faith. Parenting is letting dumb luck knock it out of the park from time to time. And sometimes, it is pouring a big glass of red wine and saying “better luck next time.”