Our children look at us with so much wonder and ability to forgive. You can make mistakes and you are STILL so beautiful. What kids want most in not for you to be perfect.
I got a comment from a mom on my post about getting rid of negative self talk which made me want to explain more why I firmly believe in our ability to be loving, connected parents, even when we make mistakes.
In the comment Ann had read about a song my dad used to sing to me that contained the words “Oops you made a mistake and you're beautiful to me“. But what struck me most about her comment was that she went on to say she often feels like a horrible mom.
This is spot on! Thank you so much. I too would love to know the words of that song. That is so precious that you have a recording of your Dad singing it. He sounds like he was an amazing Dad. I often feel like a horrible Mum. It amazes me when someone gives me a compliment like ‘you’re the best Mum’, ‘you’re a great Mum’, etc. I guess there is such pressure to be the perfect Mother and have the perfect children/family that we sometimes forget it’s okay to be human… it’s okay to make mistakes… we’re still beautiful. Thank you and bless you. x”
Ann says my dad sounds like he was an amazing dad…and he was…but there's more to the story. My dad was a huge example to me of how someone can make a positive impact on their kids, even when they mess up. He gives me strength to this day because of how much he loved me when he was alive, but he made some bad mistakes.
My dad struggled with addiction, and in the end he died when he had a relapse and made the terrible mistake to drink and drive. He made many, many mistakes in his life, but ultimately, my brother and I remember him as a wonderful father whom we miss very much.
He must have had so many moments of self-doubt, worrying about the details he was getting wrong. I think we all worry – we're all learning as we go, and with learning comes a slew of mistakes. We can get distracted worrying about each thing we've done wrong, but when it comes down to it, it's very simple.
Kids know your heart, and they know if you're really showing up.
What kids really want is not for you to be perfect. Kids want to be valued, to be accepted and to be listened to. We can forgive so much else if we have that.
As children my brother and I knew about my dad's flaws; they weren't hidden, and yet how proud I felt to be his daughter, holding his hand as he introduced me to his friends. How loved I felt because of how he listened to me deeply, and seemed to delight in knowing me.
When I notice I'm getting really down on myself as a mom, I remember how I felt about my dad. He made a lot of mistakes, but in fact, I didn't perceive him to be flawed. I never questioned the depth of his love for me, and with his love came the warm assurance that I am somebody who matters.
Because he listened, because he gave me his attention and showed me what joy he got from knowing me – because of that, he loved me perfectly.
This mindset, that says that mistakes are the sign that we're learning and growing, the mindset that says “Oops you made a mistake and you're beautiful to me.” is called a growth mindset. In parenting is means we focus on connection not perfection. If you'd like to dive into it more deeply, join us in Bounceback Parenting's membership site. You can find out about that here.