I hate feeling and acting like a terrible parent. Yelling. Making statements like “I’m not letting you go to the birthday party if you don’t do x, y, and z.” Being angry with my child. This Lent I challenged myself to work on my patience. I feel like I’ve failed. I have had great moments. There are other times I feel I don’t communicate with M anymore. I feel like a failure.
I’m grateful for my parents. But they made mistakes. It wasn’t easy for them. It’s not easy for me. I compare myself to other parents and think that they are doing it right.
Parents are responsible for so much. With each year that passes, it’s not easier. When they’re babies, they depend on you for everything. As toddlers, they fight for independence and often fight you about everything. But at the end of the day, toddlers love you. I know M loves me but I don’t know if she always understands me. With each passing year, communication becomes more challenging. The irony is that I’ve spent over 20 years working with teenagers yet I feel at a loss with my own child. I worry that I’m hurting her, letting her down, setting her up for future failure. I want so much for her to have a great life. I know it can’t be perfection but I hold myself to those high expectations. On the other hand, I hear parents say “I was too nice. I did too much.” So I’m often unsure of how to parent.
I don’t want M going to school sad, worried, upset, or confused. I don’t want her sitting there trying to concentrate on schoolwork while worrying that our relationship is at stake. I’ve prayed for patience. I pray for her forgiveness. I want M to forgive my faults, my inability to take a deep breath and shut up. I want my silence to speak. I wish there were a mother-child retreat when we could pray the Liturgy of the Hours and do Adoration together and pray for each other.
Earlier this week, I reflected on Holy Week being made holy by love(Love as key to holiness.) If only M could see how much I love her. If only I could show her my love instead of talking constantly. I’m at a loss. This has been the most important and most difficult Lenten challenge. I pray for the ability to make changes for the sake of my child.