I have decided I want to get all my kids t-shirts that say, “A work in progress”. Why you ask? Well, it’s a reminder to me and everyone around us that my kids are not perfect, none of us are, and that they are a work in progress. Each day they are growing and changing, not as quickly as I would like some days, making progress towards adulthood and hopefully being successful adult people. In the meantime, they are a work in progress. And in case all you young adults out there think you have arrived and are not longer in need of growth, I got news for you, that’s not the case. The older I get the more I realize how much more work I need to do on myself. Ahem. But this post is not about me, it’s about my kids.
Sometimes I get frustrated with my kids and their crazy behavior, or doing something over again when I have said to do the opposite a million times. Sometimes I feel like I am teaching them the same lesson ad nauseam and no progress is seen. I know other parents can relate. You wonder if your kids are hearing you and taking what you say to heart. Will they ever stop saying mean things to each other or using poor table manners? Are they going to be 30 years old and still smacking when they chew? Will they ever be mature enough to move out of my house and get real jobs? Sometimes it feels like I will have them here forever, eating all my food and messing up my house, but I know it’s not true. Time goes by in a flash. My first decade of parenting certainly has, and I know they next decade filled with teenagers will as well. They will become adults and they will remember what I have taught them and be mature adults.
Sometimes other people around me remind me of my children’s short comings. I know they mean well and only want the best for my kids, but it makes me feel like a failure as a mother. I realize I shouldn’t feel that way. My kids behavior is not a direct reflection on my parenting skills, they are individuals who are capable of making their own choices and sometimes those choices are not the ones I would make. But on some level I am responsible to teach them how to be better and see that they obey to some extent. It’s complicated. I know every mom feels embarrassed by their kids bad behavior out in public. We have all done the walk of shame out of a store with a screaming toddler who didn’t get the candy they wanted. And we have all had our kids embarrass us, usually on a regular basis. So, while I appreciate well-meaning by standers who comment on my parenting, I wish they would remember, as I am trying to do, that my kids are a work in progress. They are not perfect now, and won’t ever be, but I am doing the best I can to train them well. If you see a flaw in their character rest assured I know it well and I am working on it. It doesn’t miss my radar of things to do, but I cannot change them and change does not happen overnight. I can only keep reminding them of the behavior that I expect and hope that I am getting through some of the time.
I think we all as parents need to remember that we and our kids are a work in progress, and not to be too hard on ourselves and other parents when our kids miss the mark.