As you know, if you’ve been following and reading my blog for a while, there wasn’t much laughter in my childhood. When you grow up the way I did, It’s easy to become damaged. It’s easy to grow into an adult with low self esteem, believing you are totally worthless. And, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to make your own children believe the same thing.
Yes, you heard me right. After all, how do you learn to parent? How do you know how to discipline your children, how to encourage them? If your parents brought you chicken noodle soup when you were sick, wouldn’t that be what you’d give your child if they were sick? Why? Because, we are trained to believe that the way our parents raise us is the right way. Even if their way makes us feel, well, less than loved; we still think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Have you ever heard the saying, “The abused becomes the abuser?” It sounds absurd, right? I can remember saying that I would never treat my kids the way I was treated when I was growing up. And unfortunately, I had picked up some pretty bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I was even a fraction of the meanster (yes, that’s how I saw it) that I grew up with. But, I will admit that in my attempts to make my children understand the depths of their mistakes, I know I went a little too far. I can remember my husband saying to me, “Remember how you felt when your dad talked to you that way?” Stupid… that’s exactly how I would feel. And I remember the first time one of my kids told me that I made them feel stupid. And the first time wasn’t the last. Something had to change.
I had to break the cycle. And I did.
Now, I am not trying to make excuses. I am just saying that I didn’t know any better. I can assure you and I hope you know me well enough to believe that I am not the type of person that is mean because I enjoy it. There are truly some sick people who actually find pleasure in seeing others suffer. That is definitely not me. My kids know that I have always wanted what is best for them. I just went about it the wrong way… in the beginning.
I had to re-learn what a parent was supposed to be. I had to learn to accept constructive criticism from my husband. It wasn’t easy, I had to realize that it was okay for him to tell me when I was wrong because he was doing it for my good. He wasn’t putting me down for my shortcomings. He wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. He was trying to help and thank God, it worked!
With my husband’s help, my children’s patience and with God given wisdom, I became a phenomenal mom. I am absolutely far from perfect, any one of my kids could attest to that, but they know that I want the best for them. I want them to be better than I ever was. Even after all the mistakes I have made, my kids will never have to question if they are loved. I believe that makes me a successful mom, if nothing more.