Just Getting By

Easter 2014There seems to be this thought process that people have adopted in life, that it’s okay to just get by.  Like there’s a lot worse in the world we can be doing so I’m good with how I’m doing it.  And this seems to be increasingly more present in parenting.  We seem to be content with not giving parenting our all and just figuring well there are way worse parents out there than me so I’m doing all right and if those kids can mostly make it through okay, then mine will be fine too.

And you know I do believe kids are resilient.  They can have set backs and come out the other end just fine.  We can screw up as a parent and still our kids will make it out the other end okay.  And of course no one is a perfect parent, but what happens when we set the bar too low for ourselves?  What happens when we don’t try our absolute best to provide for our children?  I don’t really want to know what the product of not setting the bar high is.  I don’t want my kids just coming out of childhood okay in spite of things I have done.

I Am Hard On Myself

To this day 6 1/2 years after the birth of my son I still kick myself for decisions I made in my son’s early days which I am now possibly seeing the effects of more clearly.  Was I a bad mom?  No, I don’t beat my kids and I provide them love and shelter.  I educate them, but I know I could have handled my son’s health struggles differently than I did possibly saving him from 6 months in a Doc Band and over a year receiving physical therapy to help develop his gross motor skills.

Did his failure to thrive and sticking it out with a doctor who couldn’t diagnose his acid reflux hurt him?  Well, it certainly didn’t help him.  I’m proud of myself for standing up and finally firing our pediatrician, but it took me 3 months to do that.  I can do better, I should have done better.  The first three months of my son’s life I was in denial that he wasn’t growing and thriving and then the next 3 months I spent fighting with a doctor to just listen to my concerns before finding one who did listen and did fix everything.

I vowed that I would never take a back seat to anything like that again.  Especially when it came to him.  Because he deserved and still does better from me.  I can’t go back and undo that time, but I certainly don’t look back on that time fondly and don’t tell myself well I could have done worse.  The fact is that yes, I could have done worse for him and he did make it out just fine, but none the less there was still a price to pay.  And one that I’ll never know for sure is the cause for his future struggles or if that was just the way it was always going to turn out.  But I know he did not get me at my best and I will be making up for that for the rest of my life.

I Don’t Want Any Of My Kids Just Getting By

I expect my kids to work their hardest and try their best in everything they do.  Do they have to be the best?  No, of course not, but I don’t expect them to come home and say to me well I didn’t do the best, but I wasn’t the worst either, I just got by.  Did you do YOUR best?  That is the question.  Could you have done anything more to make the outcome better?  If no, then good job, if not, then how do we fix this the next time?

What better way to teach this than by example?  Showing our kids what it means to work to your potential.  Not this idea of just getting by.  We should be beating ourselves up as parents.  This is the toughest job any of us will ever have and the stakes are so high.  Twenty years from now I don’t want to be looking at my kids and saying well at least they didn’t become axe murderers.  It could have been worse.  I set the bar high for myself and if I fall short as a parent for them, then I will not shrug my shoulders and say well, the outcome could have been worse.  I reevaluate and figure out how to do better by them.

Lets Not Be Confused About Expectations Though

My expectations for myself as a parent have nothing to do with what I expect my children to be or do in life.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I expect them to be productive members of society.  What I mean is I’m not setting goals for them.  That’s their job to do.  It’s my job to guide them in achieving those goals.  Giving them the best possible foundation I can.  One which shows them that if you get knocked down by something you get up again and try harder.  You don’t say oh well it is what it is and it could have been worse.  That’s the way you look at accidents and acts of God that you had no control over.  You have control of how you live your life and how you parent.

You won’t always make the right choices, but it’s important that we recognize when we do something wrong and never forget it so we can do better the next time.  Because we shouldn’t be satisfied if our children simply survive their childhood.  We should want them to thrive because of the things we did for them.  Because we never gave up and put their needs before our own.  This is not about outdoing other parents, it’s about giving our children the absolute best of us every single minute.  Think about it, aren’t our children worth having us at our best?  My kids are so you better believe I kick myself when I don’t achieve that.  Isn’t it better that our children thrive because of us rather than in spite of us?

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