My children are the reason I laugh, smile and want to get up every morning. – Gena Lee Nolin
Every parent experience some form of self imposed ‘failure’.
When you are responsible for another life, and how that life turns out there will be times where you feel guilty. Times where you feel you should have done more or tried harder. These are all part of the package when you are a parent.
No matter how good a parent you are; we all experience those moments of self-doubt when we feel that we are failing our child. We feel guilty because we think we should do more, play more, teach more.
In today’s demanding lives it is often more difficult and overwhelming. We have so many more expectancy than our parents did. We are expected to have successful careers, be stellar parents, loving life-partners, and perfect housekeepers. Maintaining all of these things is nearly impossible, and chances are that there will be things slipping through the cracks; because let’s face it; nobody is perfect.
We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves. – Henry Ward Beecher
My biggest parenting failure to date happened in the last year.
We had the addition of our baby boy Dean to the family in October last year. You read in parenting books about how older siblings tend to regress with the arrival of a new baby. You also read that the older siblings tend to feel neglected, because all of the attention is going to the new baby. I was convinced it was a bunch of nonsense. I truly believed that nothing would change. My attention would not be divided, it would just double and then be shared equally.
Boy, was I wrong…
I soon discovered that having two children is very demanding, and as much as I didn’t want to spend more of my attention on our new baby – that is unfortunately something that happened. A baby is much more demanding and needs so much more attention that I didn’t even notice that I was giving more attention to the baby than to his older sister, Zoey.
I can see now how she has regressed (damn all those predictive baby books) and I know exactly why that has happened. I understand why – it is how she is trying to get more attention. I feel terrible as I realized this. Nobody wants to believe that they are doing something that negatively affects their children. Some people might think it’s not so bad, there are way worse parenting failures. But to me it is heartbreaking to know that I have (in this way) failed my daughter.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. – Frederick Douglass
Luckily I know that; because I have realized my mistake; I can now work on fixing it. That is the positive thing I am taking from this failure – learning from it. All relationships require work, a relationship between life partner, relationships between friends and also relationships between parents and their kids.
So, how do I plan on fixing this situation? Well, now that Dean is older and more independent, I want to do more things involving all of us. Over the weekends when daddy is working (which sucks!), I want us to do a few crafts with them, small things we can enjoy together.
I also want to go on Mommy/Daughter dates with Zoey; where the two of us spend some time together alone.
These are some of my favorite ideas of Mommy/Daughter dates:
- Get nails done together. My daughter will love this one – especially because it isn’t something we do a lot of at home (I don’t even own nail varnishes). She always enjoys watching her aunt do her nails, and begging t have hers done as well – in all the colors of the rainbow.
- Tea party. Zoey is luckily still of an age where she can enjoy dressing up, getting her stuffed toys ready and having a tea party with mommy.
- Bake something together. Zoey enjoys cookies and cakes, so baking something together would be a great date – plus she has something to share with daddy and brother when they get back.
- Have a picnic. Just the two of you. Pack a nice picnic lunch and head to the nearest park. Zoey is so busy that she will enjoy the chance to run around and have fun.
- Visit a farmers market together. Get in some healthy shopping. Better yet I think I’ll give Zoey her own spending money and see what she gets herself.
I hope some of you moms out there can also enjoy some of these dates with your daughters. Do you have any date ideas that you want to add to this list? Please let us know in a comment below.