November 6th: Imperfect
We had a bit of a bad night here last night. I’m not going to go into it, really, I’m just going to say this: I am not proud of my parenting. Also, I hate homework. Also, I really need to work on my patience…as usual.
I know I am not alone. Every parent who exists has moments where they wonder if they are capable of the job they are trying to do. Almost every parent I know will admit that they’ve lost their shit over homework once or twice themselves. It’s the end of the day, we’re worn out, and no one wants to be doing schoolwork after dark- not the kid, and not the parent.
I went to bed feeling like a jackass and I woke up this morning feeling bad, too. I was still dwelling on it on my way into the office this morning, as my car crawled along at a snail’s pace on the backed-up highway.
Out of nowhere I thought “What about all the stuff you get right, though?” and I was like “Huh?”, because when your head just starts talking to you like that, you have to take notice, right? So, my inner voice, the one that pops in when I really need help, goes “Why don’t you ever obsess over all the stuff you get right?” And I’m all “Well, I’m supposed to get things right, that’s why.” My inner voice rolled her eyes at me. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it. “All I’m saying is, you get a lot more right these days than you screw up. Maybe you should give yourself a little credit.”
And that’s where the silent exchange ended, but I haven’t stopped thinking about that. I’m really good at beating myself up for times when I feel I have come up short. But when I get things right…and honestly, most of the time I do get things right, I don’t acknowledge it at all. Because that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, so I don’t get a gold star for that. When I really think it over, it’s almost like I’ve set it up so that I can’t win. I’m like the world’s worse boss- happy to ream my own ass when I misstep, but never saying thank you to myself for all the work I do.
Listen, I am imperfect. Sometimes I lose my temper and I don’t like that- I’m trying so hard to change. But other times, lots of times, I work weekends so that I can take time off for doctor’s appointments that aren’t for me. I make special trips to bakeries to buy macaron’s because Cam wants to try them, and I am affectionate and thoughtful, open and giving with my kids. I say “I love you” more times in a day than I can count. Our house might be messy, but it’s truly filled with love, and my kids know that this will be their home no matter how far away they go or how old they are. They know they can come to me for anything, at any time. And that matters a lot. I need to make sure to take pride in that.
Today, if you find that you are being very hard on yourself, I hope that you can pause and think about all the things you get right. I hope you can see how far you’ve come, no matter how far you might feel you have to go. Just the fact that you want to do better says an awful lot about the kind of person you are. No one is all bad or all good- we’re just these fumbling, imperfect little humans, trying our best to be okay, and to love others, and to be loved in return. We are all imperfect. But the things we get right are many, and those things matter the most. I hope you can see that today and be kind to yourself.