Am I Getting This Whole ‘Parenting’ Thing Right?

The day we brought our daughter home from the hospital, there was a moment in the late hours of the night where the importance of it all sunk in. As I looked at her through sleepy, love-filled eyes, I wondered aloud, “Will I be good enough?”

Flash forward 14 years, and the narrative has changed slightly. Not only do I wonder if I will be a good enough mother to my daughter and the son who came less than two years later, I find myself asking on a daily basis, “Have I been good enough?”

At this point, I’ve completed more parenting days than the ones I have left. According to my calculations, there are approximately 1,460 days to feel confident I’ve been good enough to turn that barely 5-pound baby into a fully functioning human who can survive out in the world, only to have my son pushed out of the nest 365 days later.

Have I been good enough to the humans who were entrusted to me so many years ago? Have I set the right examples? Given enough of myself? Have the prayers over everything from, “I beg you to just let them sleep for three hours straight,” to, “Please don’t let the hormones turn them into a-holes,” been enough? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that it can all be slightly overwhelming.

There Are Little Things

My daughter can’t navigate a shopping cart through Target. She runs into displays and stops paralyzed in fear as other shoppers push their carts in her direction. One day, I stood watching her in awe and then went on a 15-minute rant about how she needs to hold her ground and make confident decisions.

My son thinks as long as his athletic shorts match his polo, he’s “dressed up” for the day. I suggested to him that at some point, he will be forced to wear clothing besides athletic wear and the equivalent of shower shoes. This sent me down the path of his first school formal dance, girlfriends and his wedding day.

Do you understand the crazy mom brain I’m dealing with?

Don’t Get Me Started On The Big Things

The challenge with the big things is that I don’t always know what they are or when they are coming. Is that mood just normal adolescence, or is there something deeper going on? Are there things they aren’t telling me? When will the challenges of the day turn from a failed math test to something else that I don’t want to even type for fear of speaking it out in the universe.

The In-Between Stuff Is What Keeps My Wine Rack Stocked

On the surface, they appear like the little things, but these middle-of-the-road challenges are deceptively mundane. They sneak up late at night as the nagging questions arise in the back of my mind.

Am I being too involved? Am I not involved enough? For example, my kids forget stuff all the time. Lunch boxes. Textbooks. Sports gear. I’ve seen the school sign that’s made its way around the internet.

If you’re here to drop off your kid’s forgotten lunch box, books, homework, equipment, etc. please turn around and exit the building. Your kid will learn to problem-solve in your absence.

Here’s the thing. I get it and even agree with it in theory, but if I’m being honest, I typically step in when I receive the call from one of my kids. Maybe I’m enabling them, or maybe I’m simply teaching them that there’s someone out there they can count on when they need a hand, and in turn, they will spend their days being that person for someone else. Is that the right decision? Heck if I know, because on most days, I’m in uncharted parental territory and basically winging it.

With that in mind today, my new parenting prayer is pretty simple: “Don’t let me be blinded by the love of my kids, that I get it right more than I get it wrong, and that in the next 1,460 days, they will be prepared to go out on their own, and I won’t blow their college fund on booze.”

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