Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world for so many reasons. Raising children is an extremely difficult job in and of itself, but when you factor in the scrutiny and criticism from onlookers, how is a parent ever supposed to feel confident?
There are so many parents that make the job look easy, and as though they never make a mistake. That’s awesome for them, but it can feel intimidating and defeating to watch that as you compare it to your own parenting journey. Plus, believe it or not they are facing their own battles that you have no idea about because they are choosing to only share the positives.
As children grow up and reflect on their life, they are not going to remember the little mistakes that you made. Insignificant accidents are not going to carve a place in a child’s brain. What will, are all the times you provided a good life for them, were there for them, and helped prepare them to be the best version of themselves imaginable.
So, what are 10 things your child will, and will not remember as they look back on their childhood as an adult?
They won’t remember…
1. The time you packed them a blueberry yogurt instead of a strawberry one.
2. The time you told them they couldn’t have candy while you were grocery shopping.
3. The time you told them they couldn’t have a second piece of cake.
4. The time you had to get them 1 present instead of more for their birthday for budget reasons.
5. The time that you gave them a frozen meal for dinner because you were too tired to cook.
6. The time that you bought them store brand food instead of shopping organic.
7. The time that you forgot to bring their favorite stuffed animal on a trip.
8. The time that you had to buy them used clothes instead of shopping off the rack.
9. How you had to have a birthday party at home with close family and friends instead of renting an expensive venue and inviting their entire class.
10. The time that you had to hit the drive-thru for breakfast because you were running late for work.
You beat yourself up for your shortcomings because in the moment these are the end of the world for your child. You fear that your little one will grow up and think about what a terrible parent you are because of how hard these mistakes hit them.
However, the reality is, these are not the memories that your child is forming around these incidents. They are still growing emotionally and cognitively, so the minor things they take so personally will only temporarily set up camp in their short-term memory. What they will look back on and actually remember as they reach adulthood is much different.
They will remember…
1. All the times that you sent them to school with a lunchbox full of food while there are so many children in the world that are not fed lunch.
2. That you were at the grocery store every single week buying food for them that helped them grow into a healthy, strong adult.
3. How you took the time to bake cakes for the family or provide one for special occasions.
4. The fact that you spent money you didn’t really have to make their birthday special.
5. All the times you came home completely exhausted but still took the time to make sure they were fed.
6. All the times that they opened up the kitchen pantries and fridge and there was food for them to eat.
7. The time that you took them on a trip where they were able to make memories and spend time with their family.
8. That they always had a shirt on their back, and shoes on their feet, because not every child is so lucky.
9. The times that you spent the time and money to plan a birthday celebration, and how special it was to be celebrated by their closest family and friends.
10. All the times that you made sure they were fed before going to school, because some of their peers’ only meal for the day was a school lunch.
It’s easy to look at the negative things you do, because that’s just human nature. We want to be the best we can and do everything perfectly as a general human characteristic. Nobody wants to feel like they have messed up.
When is the last time you heard someone say, “I am so happy that I forgot to do X, Y, and Z. It makes me feel so good about myself when I drop the ball on the things I want to do.”
Never, right? As human beings it is easier to be hard on ourselves than look at the great things we have accomplished. As a parent, it is even harder because you are putting pressure on yourself to give your child a good life.
As you stress the small stuff, try to remember that your kiddo is likely not seeing things the same way as you are. What will end up in their long-term memory is much different than the fit they may throw, or the anger they feel in the moment. They will remember the character traits you helped them develop as well as the support and love you showed for them.
I can promise they will not look back on their childhood and say, “I still remember the day you sent me to school with mismatched socks. Wow, what a terrible childhood you gave me!”
So, make those mistakes. Forget some things, mess some things up. They are learning experiences that will help you understand what you want to do better and how to do it. The more you focus on the big stuff and less on the little stuff, the more you can enjoy your time with your little one before they are all grown up.