Simply Parenting: The Willingness to Fail is Key to Our Success
This month, we’ve talked about simple parenting. In week one, we talked about the importance of self-care, which went along with having a flexible routine. We went more into that routine in week two. Then, in week three we talked about screen-time, and how screen-time could be implemented in our day-to-day lives. In thinking more about that conversation on screen-time, I want to make sure that I’m clear. I still don’t know what I think about screen time. The point of the blog post wasn’t to say screen time is great for you and your family. The point was to say that if you need to have screen time or you want to have screen time, that’s probably okay. It’s something my family is experimenting with, and I don’t think that it inhibits our goal of living simply. That being said, this week I want to talk about the fear of failure.
Before we begin, I want to again make myself clear. I am not a parenting expert. I am a beginner parent, and I fail horribly at parenting on a regular basis. So, this month’s blog posts have largely been my reflections on my life as a stay-at-home mom. I’m thinking about what works and what doesn’t work for me. What I like about my routine and what I don’t. I mentioned this idea a couple of weeks ago: “Parenting requires the acceptance of failure.” And I think that in context of all that we’ve talked about in this blog in regards to living simply, this idea is key.
I can’t imagine any parent who does not struggle with the fear of failing on some level. It seems like this is a natural feeling most parents would feel. I am no exception. I think that the fear of failure can take on many forms—more often, as parents, we probably have one particular aspect of parenting that we fear failing at the most. This month, I’ve thought quite a bit on how to move out of the need to be the perfect parent. It’s not something I’ve said, explicitly, in my blog posts, but when talking about routine and self-care and screen time I can’t help but feel like I could be doing all of those things better.
I had an older parent encourage me once, she said that “There are no perfect parents, but there are no perfect kids, either.” At the time this was an incredible concept for me. We all probably have ideas on how to be the perfect parent. We also all probably have ideas on how our kids could be or become perfect kids. But when it comes to being a good mom, I’ve begun to realize that I need to cut myself a bit more slack.
I say this because in my day-to-day life with my children I get stressed. I get overwhelmed. I get frustrated. I get tired. I get introverted, and sometimes I realize that I feel some of the worst of these feelings when I’ve responded poorly to one of my children and begin to beat myself up about it. I’m still learning how to communicate to two children who are still learning how to communicate. I’m learning about structure and healthy routines and healthy discipline. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that my kids are formulating their constructs of the world based on me and my husband and our constructs of the world. And I know that we are not perfect!
One of the things I try to practice is communicating to my kids that I am not perfect. I haven’t used the word “perfect,” but when I know I have communicated poorly to one of my children I tell them. I apologize, and I practice communicating better. And for me this is key! I think that in parenting, as in all relationships, approaching it with humility and an openness to admit when you have done something wrong and work to become better at it is so important.
I found this great article on Forbes that talks about facing the fear of failure in entrepreneurship. Now, I get that this may seem unrelated, but really it’s not. All of the tips in this could be applied to our lives as parents. Three big take-aways from reading this article that I want to mention here are this: 1. Allow yourself to feel the fear of failure. 2. Acknowledge that failure will happen. 3. Restructure the idea of failure to something that could become a learning opportunity.
How can we as parents learn from our failures? How can our willingness to communicate those failures with our children encourage them to face their fears?
I’d love to hear from you!