Monthly Archives: September 2013
A writer acquaintance of mine (a brilliant mother of five), creator of the website “Manna for Moms” sometimes posts a “Question of the Day” on Facebook, usually related to parenting.
A couple weeks ago she posted this one:
QOTD: What are (at least) two of your strengths and only one weakness, as pertaining to being a parent?
I clicked on the comment box and thought for a second. Then I thought for a minute. Then two. Nothing came. I couldn’t think of even one strength I have as a parent, much less two. Maybe if she had switched the order, two weaknesses and a strength, I could have come up with something.
I minimized the page, figuring I’d come back to it later. I never did.
It’s not that I couldn’t think of anything. It was that every possible “strength” I thought of had to be qualified, meaning it didn’t really count.
I thought of putting, “I try to keep my eye out for ‘teachable moments'” but then I remembered all those teachable moments that passed by without me taking notice of them or making the most of such times. So I couldn’t put that down.
I thought of putting, “I try to teach my kids practical skills and let them help me with jobs” but then I thought of all those skills I have yet to teach my kids, and the things I probably should have helped them master by now which I haven’t. I couldn’t put that down either.
A few more things came to mind, yet each one had a “but” to it, a point that disqualified that act or mindset as a strength. (Maybe I could have put down that I’m a realistic parent.)
I copied down the question as I really did want to answer it, but even now, weeks later, I’m having a difficult time coming up with anything.
I try to notice things and be “in the moment” as a parent but I fail in that all too often.
I love my kids and try to show them, but often my frustrations or impatience get in the way of that.
Then I realized the question wasn’t, “In what area are you absolutely perfect as a parent?” If that was the case, no parent could answer it. But we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to try.
I looked back over my responses and noticed that every one of them had the word “try.” Yes, there are different levels of “try” and some of the lower levels are more a cop-out than an honest effort. But when we, as parents, are making that “honest effort” sometimes that’s the best we can do.
I think it’s enough for our children. And should be enough for us too.
My two strengths as a mother?
- I love my kids more than anything in this world.
- I try … and when I fail (and I do every day) … I try again.
- I need to tell them every day that I love them, and that sometimes the best thing we can do is just keep trying.