10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

This is a guest post by Ivana Davies from Find Your Mom Tribe

If there is one thing that parenting points out to you, it’s your own inadequacies and shortcomings. I started on this road of parenthood, overjoyed and expectant, vowing to be the best mother that I could possibly be. I was going to serve all organic, vegan, non-GMO, restaurant-quality food. I was going to make my own soap. I was going to have the energy to play with my kids anytime of day, anytime of night. I was going to remain patient and steadfast in my discipline. I had dreams of writing books to inspire other parents to be their personal best, and I was determined to prove that having it all was possible.

Then reality hit. Dirty diapers, half-empty bottles of rancid formula, soiled clothes, crumbs everywhere, and my struggle with post partum depression were staring me in the face as I attempted to bridge the gap between daily life with my little loves and the unrealistic expectations I’d set for myself. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, life threw me another curveball, and I had to figure out how to deal with my own shortcomings and rise above them to be the best parent that I could be – at that time.

Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. We make mistakes in life, we make mistakes in parenting, and having a bit of compassion for ourselves as we move through the process and become more experienced is essential if we are going to give our kids the best. The key to surviving any parental mishap is how you own up to the mistake, and how you clean up after yourself. Not even parenting classes can prepare you for everything. You will make mistakes – it’s unavoidable. Your child did not come with an instruction manual, and you have to figure out what they need and what suits them best. Take these valuable nuggets that I’ve learned from my many mistakes, and maybe you’ll make a few less as you navigate these exciting waters with me. Jump in!

Lesson #1 – A little dirt is okay

Just make sure Junior isn’t taking handfuls of sand out of the sandbox. If your wayward toddler is exploring the kitchen floor and finds some Cheerios, don’t freak out. Think of it as an opportunity for them to build up their immune systems while enjoying a delicious snack. Make it a goal to intervene a little faster next time, and soon you’ll be beating them to the punch.

Lesson #2 – Let sleeping kids lie

I used to think that the only quality sleep that could be had by my children was in the crib surrounded by the best blankets, orthopedic structures, and stimulating mobiles. I was dead wrong. I soon learned that if my child fell asleep in the car seat while I was shopping for groceries, I should NOT disturb him upon arriving back home. I let him sleep to his heart’s content where he fell asleep, knowing that he was safe and comfortable. If only I could get in a good nap in any location…….sigh.

Lesson #3 – My kids WILL imitate me

Thoughts, actions, behaviors, words…..your little ones are like sponges. They will soak up what you do, and they will imitate you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; if there was ever a reason for raising the bar on your own language choice, behavior, and habits, it’s that. Think of what you want your kids to become, and what habits you would like them to form. They are watching you….so, model those behaviors, and you will soon see them performing them as well.

Lesson #4 – I need to relax when I hear curse words

Let’s face it – any kid in the public education system these days is FAR more knowledgeable than we were at their age. Think of the most vile string of curse words you could piece together, and they have probably not only heard it, but said it as well. If they let this stuff fly, don’t freak out. Calmly explain that there are other, more intelligent language choices that they can use to express themselves, and encourage them to see how creative they can get when it comes to expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Lesson #5 – My kids will at some point be responsible for their own comfort

I can preach all I want about the dangers of frostbite and cold extremities, but when I drop them off at school, all bets are off. At some point, they will have to take matters into their own hands and protect themselves against the elements. If they are freezing because they forgot to put on a hat and gloves, so be it. Maybe next time they’ll remember. That won’t stop me from continuing to preach, though.

Lesson #6 – I will make mistakes when packing their lunches

There will inevitably be a mistake made when putting condiments on a sandwich. I might still be half asleep when I throw strawberries into a container, failing to see that one of them has begun to mold. Did I forget to pack your favorite kind of chips? Forgive me…..I was tending to the fifty other things you asked me to do this morning. It’s a wonder we can get out the door sometimes; there will be mistakes made, but when all is said and done, they are fed and clothed adequately about 97 percent of the time. Get over the other 3 percent, kiddos. Such is life. Love ya!

Lesson #7 – Kids will pit your partner against you

In houses that practice dual governance, you may be called upon to make disciplinary decisions that your partner might not agree with. Your kids know how to play this perfectly; take Halloween candy, for instance. If Mom says “no”, it is likely that Dad will say “yes” especially if he is engrossed on his computer. The more frequently you can talk to your partner about some non-negotiable rules for success, the less likely it is that your kids will try to put one over on you.

Lesson #8 – I wiped my kids way too late

My third grader is still asking me to come in and give her the once over after a messy bathroom episode. The truth is, most kids should be wiping themselves sufficiently by the time they are five or when they enter school. If we continue to perpetuate this, they will not gain the skills that they need to care for themselves, and infections are likely to develop as a result of improper wiping. Do a periodic check if you must, but insist that your kids start taking this over as soon as possible.

Lesson #9 – You will forget to do important things

With the sheer volume of information coming home from school, it is likely that you will miss important dates, important permission slips, and requests for money that impact your child. Teachers are forgiving, and your kids may not be. Do your best to keep up with this information coming home from school and coaches, and apologize for missing information. Forgive yourself, repair the situation, and move on. Life is too short to cry over spilled milk. 

Lesson #10 – You will lose your cool, you can count on it

Regardless of what kind of kind, patient person you normally are, parenting can sometimes stretch you to your very limits. You will be sleep-deprived, caffeine-deprived, and pulled to your wits end with the demands that our little ones make on our time, our bodies, and our souls. You will lose your cool with them, and you might even say and do things that you regret later. Be real, admit your mistakes, and repair the damage; no relationship is quite as important as that of parent and child. Commit to the process of seeing this through to adulthood (yours and theirs!), and there will be a richness of relationship that you can enjoy for years to come!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies, and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7-year-old girl and a playful 5-year-old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all the hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, it can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail?

About Lauren

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My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

Here is my journey in writing my debut parenting book, They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

For the full synopsis and to preorder now: Mascot Books-They Say

My Dream

Although I always knew I wanted to help people, I didn’t always imagine myself writing a book. My eagerness and passion to help was one of the main reasons I went to college and graduate school to become a school counselor. I just didn’t know that my help would one day be in the form of writing. 

When I became a mom, I felt a lot of emotions—happiness and joy but also a tremendous amount of guilt and a lack of patience. Being a new parent is beautiful, a miracle even, but it was hard. I kept hearing all of the things I SHOULD be doing—and I wasn’t doing. This made me question myself. This is where my dream was born! I felt driven to share my feelings with other parents out there. I thought, Am I the only one? Are others feeling this way too? Maybe it will help to hear that they aren’t alone.

So I started to write about the crazy parenting experiences, the joyful experiences, and the downright hard experiences. It was therapeutic to write and get it out on paper. Many times I cried while writing, or while reading back my stories. In the end it helped me navigate the world of parenthood, and I hope my book, my end result, will help someone else in this way too.

My Process

Many people ask me, how did you write a book with three kids? Honestly, I just took my time. I mainly wrote during nap times. It took me about three years to write and another year or so to edit and publish. It’s like my fourth baby. I put my passion into it, I cried tears over it, and I believe in it.

My Hopes

My hopes for this book are that reading my story can help other parents feel less alone and to help them be confident in the way they decide to parent. After all, I strongly believe, no one knows what works for our children and families better than US! 

They Say is a guide from baby through the preschool years which provides lots of ideas, but also encourages parents to trust their instincts. I strongly believe that there is something for everyone in my book. I touch a lot on dealing with “mommy guilt,” about self-care as parents, and on staying positive and believing in ourselves, with lots of reminders that there is no such thing as perfection and this is OKAY!

My Fears and Reservations

I have personally grown as a result of writing this book. I have had fears along the way.  There are plenty of reservations when you put your whole life out there on paper for all to read, but I have learned how to push past them. Reading my stories, writing about the way I feel as a parent, and focusing on all the things I have learned has helped me grow in more ways than I could have ever imagined. This book is uncensored, honest and full of the feelings and emotions I’ve experienced so far in my parenting journey. To be fully transparent, one reservation is that I worry of what others will think of the book and about me… but, I believe in the end it’s all worth the risks if it even makes a difference for one person. If it even helps one person see they aren’t alone, if it even helps one person see they are worth it, if it even helps one person feel more confident in themselves as a parent, then I have succeeded. 

I wish I had a book like this when I was pregnant and when I had my first child. There is so much advice out there that it gets overwhelming. A book like this would have helped me see what to expect from the view of a mom and to know that even in my worst and hardest moments, I wasn’t alone.

If you are writing a book, or writing in general, and you are experiencing road blocks, fears, or reservations, remember this: 

Don’t let your surroundings define you. Don’t let what others say or think prevent you from going for your dream! There is a reason that passion landed in your heart.

Remember: You can thrive no matter your environment. Don’t ever question whether you are “good enough,” “bright enough” or whether you have enough resources to do something. If you want something bad enough, you CAN make it happen.

I leave you with a quote from Aristotle, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Order They Say- Not Your Average Parenting Book today by clicking here and you’ll receive your copy as soon as it hits the warehouse—well before it’s available through Amazon and B&N!

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest and subscribe to my blog to be the first to hear about book updates and events. 

Learn more about me and my blog: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: I Wrote a Book! Here’s How…

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