Being a mom to most of us means, there is no room for “messing up.” We believe we have one shot at motherhood, sometimes we tend to address every situation in isolation and become increasingly hard on ourselves. We see every “mistake” or “wrong move” as a failure in our eyes. When do we give ourselves a break and come to terms with the realities of learning?
When I had my first child, my daughter I thought to myself, I cannot “mess” this up. I have one shot. I have to do this right. The truth is I have “messed up” so many times since the day she was born. In fact, she is now 13 and I think I have “messed up” more times in the past few years than the rest of her life. But for some reason, I am more okay with “messing up” today than I was years ago. I do not consider it “messing up.” Each of these situations I have come to learn more and more, are learning experiences. Experiences that I have and will continue to use to parent my kids.
For many life happens sequentially, in a certain order. I must do this, then this, then this… For me, not so much all the time. Despite having a first degree before I had my daughter, I decided to further my studies, just when she began pre-school. Many would deem this impossible as it does not fit into the sequential realm of things. My first thought was…”Girl you are crazy, you are in a new country without your mom and you think going back to school with a 3-year-old is a good idea!” But life happened, I went back to school and survived with the gift of twin boys at the end of my two years. My daughter survived preschool! Hubby and the village helped make it happen and before I knew it, it was over. Amidst all this chaos, many lessons were learned. At that point when I thought I was “messing up” as a mom, I realized that I can by no means fight my battles alone.
When it was time for elementary school, we wanted to make sure we made the best decision for our daughter. I struggled with decisions around sending her to a church school versus a public school. Growing up in the church and going to public school all my life I knew deep down they were both essentially important. We came to the decision of sending her to a church school. We loved all she was learning, both academically and biblically, but being a public school teacher I just felt like something was missing. After 3 years, we decided to send her to public school. We found a real traditional public school we both liked. Everything seemed great, she was doing well academically. However, there was little room for exposure to extra curricular activities or opportunities. At the time, this was at the forefront of my mind, since my school was evolving and I saw so many of these opportunities available to the students there. I thought it would be a great idea for her to experience this. Needless to say, she spent her final year of elementary school in my school. As these changes occurred, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt, because I thought I was doing her an injustice. However, today I can safely say as she is in her final semester of middle school, I have seen where she has drawn from experiences from each elementary school in so many situations as a means to survive middle school. Today, this chaos I thought I created, after having a discussion with her about these decisions, I believe has groomed a strong young lady.
When it was time for our boys to go to elementary school, they came to my school, no questions asked. I was not going to “mess up again,” I thought. After pre kindergarten we had to make a decision about regular program versus a Spanish Dual Language program for the rest of their elementary years. Here we go again. We decided on the Spanish DLP program. We thought it would be great for the boys to learn a second language, but the challenges that came with this decision remained a concern. This decision to date has me wondering if I once again…yes, “messed up.” I often times question this decision. While this is great opportunity, as a parent you cannot help but wonder about the…”what ifs?” With a few more years of experience from my first go as a parent, I am taking it one day at a time.
As life takes its toll, we are going to “mess up.” Sometimes these so-called “mess ups” are actually learning experiences. Whether we have kids or not, these experiences can become our greatest motivations. When things in life break the usual sequence or order, sometimes it is worth giving it a try.