I am Type A in a lot of respects.
I like to have a plan and I like to follow it. It is helpful to know what is expected of me. I take pride in meeting and exceeding expectations.
I knew before I became a mother that parenting is the most important job I would ever have. It was important to me to do a good job–no–an outstanding job. I wanted to be the best mother I could be.
But HOW do I do that?
What does that even mean?
Sadly, motherhood did not come with a rubric.
I know the bare minimum standards: keep them alive, fed, and uninjured. But I tend to parent according to an ideal that I know I’ll never attain. What I don’t have is a realistic set of goals to guide my parenting by.
And I want one.
I want to know when it’s okay to take a break.
I want to be able to stop feeling guilty all the time and start feeling confident in my parenting skills.
And I know — I know that this says far more about my self esteem than it does about parenting.
But I still want a rubric.
So, here is my attempt at a bare minimum set of standards.
- Tell the kids they are loved.
- Keep them safe — buckled in seats, dressed for the weather, and away from all the dangerous things.
- Listen to them
- Give hugs and kisses
- Correct and discipline them when needed
- Show mercy
- Be an example
- Feed them
- Be proud of them
- Let them explore the world
I know I’m missing something, probably lots of things. And I know your list will probably look a lot different than mine, but I know I can’t be alone in wanting to have a foundation to stand on so that on the days when I’m feeling like a parenting failure, I can remind myself that when I have done my best then I’ve succeeded as a mom.
But seriously, wouldn’t it have just been easier to include a user manual in every pack of diapers?