The Days are Long... | Parenting

The days are long, but the years are short.

If ever there was a saying that summed up the experience of parenting so well, that is it. Some days it feels like we will never reach bedtime. And other days, I look at my girls playing together, and I wonder where the hell did these little girls come from, what happened to my babies?

"It was a challenge bringing up these 5 precious children, blank canvas’ each one, and I knew that what I painted on...
Posted by Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life on Sunday, 7 February 2016
On Sunday I shared a blog post on my facebook page that my Mum wrote. She is the proud survivor of 5 children and she wrote about what things she thinks are important that we as parents do to help shape the lives of our little ones and set them up for the adults they will become.

It really hit a chord with me and I'm pretty sure it would hit a chord with most parents. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that Mum was more than just a Mum. That she was human. That she made mistakes. That she wasn't perfect and did the absolute best that she could with what she had while raising us.

Every time I shout at the girls, or get angry with them for something that is really not that important in the grand scheme of things, I feel so guilty. I worry almost daily that I am ruining them with my parenting, that the actions I take today will have lasting consequences and impair them in the future.

I think it's a fear and guilt that all parents feel. I don't know how you could love your children and not worry about the impact you as a parent will have on them and their future. As I was reading Mum's post though I came to realise a few things.

Yes, what I do as a parent will have an effect on my children down the track. I'm not always at my best and I'm not always the parent I want to be. Everyday life has a habit of getting in the way of our best intentions. But I pick myself up every morning and try once again to be the best parent that I can, and I think that is what makes the difference.

My Mum wasn't perfect. There are things she wishes she had done differently. As we all do. But when I think about what my life is like today, and how I think I've turned out, I realise that it's not the bad stuff or my mother's "failures" that I remember. I remember the good times. I remember the chaos. I remember seeing my Mum struggling, but putting one foot in front of the other none-the-less, and I remember the love. I remember knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Mum loved me. That she would go to the ends of the earth and then some, for me.

That love far overshadows any of her "failings" and when I think about it today, those "failings" weren't failings at all. Reading her post and thinking about my own "failings" as a parent, I realise that all of it comes together to create a more complete picture of what parenting is and how everything we do will have an impact on our children. But if we are open and honest, and just keep trying to do our best with what we've got everyday, our children will see that. They'll remember that.

They'll learn that. And hopefully, when it comes to raising their own children they'll one day be comforted by the fact that despite their imperfectness, their children will still love them, and thank them for the lessons they've taught them growing up.

At least I hope that's what my girls will feel, the way I feel about my Mum.

The days are long but the years are short. It's time I stopped worrying so much about how I'm ruining my children for the future, and start reminding myself of the lessons I'm teaching them and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best job I can, each and every day. Because these days are going oh so fast!

Do you worry about how your parenting is affecting your children? 

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