I want to talk about parenting mistakes. We all have made them, whether or not we like to talk about them. As I am trying to establish my blog, I have been trying to offer parenting advice. As I search for resources on parenting, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of advice on parenting there is. All is intended to be helpful. But it often ends up making us feel bad about parenting choices or make us realize a mistake that we didn’t know we made. This has been very true for me.
Being a blogger has had its ups and downs. It has been filled with lots of thoughts about what I have to offer the world. There are times when I feel inspired and excited to share my insights. There are other times when I feel like a total wannabe. How could my feeble attempt at advice and super basic DIY projects possibly make an impact? There seems to be an endless supply of awesome opinions and advice on the internet.
As I was trying to write a post about early bedtimes for kids I came across some posts about crying it out and circumcision(random I know) that made me feel like a total failure as a parent. I’m sure we have all had these moments. It is one of the worst feelings in the world I think. I felt like I had single-handedly ruined my kid’s lives.
It is in moments like these where we have to stop being so hard on ourselves though! Even if the decision we made does affect our kids, there are a lot of other factors that make a person who they are. This one mistake could have varying degrees of effect on that. In most cases, it is impossible to know exactly how much the decision really affected them. And no matter the impact of our mistake, wallowing in it will not help anything.
We live in a world where parents lives seem to be under the microscope. Everything we do seems to be observed by the outside world. We often hear about others parenting mistakes in the news. Abuse and neglect of children is a very real thing as well. There are times when we judge other parents. Doing so seems to help us feel like better parents. We couldn’t possibly make that mistake. But there are also times where we make a mistake and we hope that people won’t judge us.
While we know that no one is perfect, for some reason we expect ourselves as parents to be. We spend hours reading about particular topics so that we can make the best decision for our kids. Even after hours of research, it is still possible to make the wrong choice for our particular child.
As I mentioned a couple of my parenting mistakes stood out today as I tried to write a blog post. The first was letting my daughter “cry it out” when she was a baby. The second was circumcising my son.
Letting my daughter “cry it out”
For me, “crying it out” was the only option because our daughter would not sleep while being held and would cry immediately upon being laid down, every single time. I knew she needed to sleep so I had to let her cry, even though I hated it. So now, years later, as I come across all of these negative articles about crying it out and the damage it can cause, I went into near panic. Could all of this crying have caused my daughter’s developmental delays? Was there something else I could have done to make her sleep?
The reality I am faced with now is that maybe letting my daughter “cry it out” did contribute to her delays. But, then again, maybe it didn’t. What I know is that I can’t go back in time. I have to move forward with the knowledge I have gained. But I know that at the time I made the decision, I was making what I thought was the right choice. And I didn’t make the choice with the intention to cause her harm.
Circumcising our son
Circumcision is apparently a hot topic lately. Psychology today has a lot of interesting information against circumcision. Here is one post I read from Lillian Dell’Aquila Cannon, PhD. I am sad to say, prior to reading this, I was pretty oblivious to all of the new research. While I know that sharing this information with you puts me in a position to be judged, I want to share my experience with you anyways.
Having read all of these facts about circumcision that I just sort of stumbled on tonight, I felt pretty dumb. It made me regret the decision of circumcising my son. Again, I felt like I ruined my son’s life. That I made a decision that I had no right to make, that it may affect him later in life, that I caused him unnecessary pain, etc. etc. While all of this may be true, dwelling on this mistake will not change what has already happened. It is also possible that being circumcised vs not, will not be a big deal for my son. And that even if it is, he will not blame me for it.
Since it is also impossible to see the future, I can’t let this poor decision cause me increased anxiety. My biggest regret is not being more educated before making such a big decision. At the time, I just thought it was what was best. What I have learned from this mistake is that I want to be more informed on all of these important decisions and help others make informed decisions as well.
We are all imperfect. We all make bad or uniformed decisions at times. These bad decisions do not need to take over our lives and drag us down. We need to learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward. Scrutinizing our every mistake will not make that mistake go away. Learning from them will help us to make better decisions in the future. No matter what mistake you have made, your kids will be ok. We must focus on today, not what we want to change about the past. We can hope for a better future by focusing on what we can do better today. So keep moving forward!