...if my kids don't want to be apart from me…
...if they have perfect grades….
…if my ex has no reason to threaten me with court…
Insert anything here. You know it. You feel like you’re not a good parent, unless….
What if I told you that you’re a good parent in spite of whatever caveat you put on it?
I get the opportunity to talk with a lot of parents who are divorced or separated. Many of them spend our time together by questioning whether or not they were making the right decisions, asking if their ex is right when they say (insert the parenting insult here), or if they were as good of a parent as (just about anyone’s name would work here).
The first step in rationalizing those feelings is to know that they’re normal. Not only are you not the only one feeling them, but it would be weird if you didn’t. In fact, it’s part of what makes you a great parent! Questioning the job you’re doing only makes you better at it (not that you need to be better). The great thing is that always trying to do your best as a parent only makes you the best parent you can be for your kids.
The next step is to ask where they’re coming from. For my divorced friends, if this is because there’s more litigation, if it’s because your ex won’t stop sending you messages telling you how much better he/she is, or if this is because you worry your children will love your ex more - stop! OK, that seems harsh, but really - stop! Again, those are normal feelings, but you have to know where they’re coming from. They’re coming from a place of fear and knowing that’s where it comes from helps you in overcoming it.
Finally, now that you know where it’s coming from, you can work to overcome it. How do you overcome fear? You face it head on and you tell fear where to stick it! You tell fear that you are the best parent you can be, that it’s not a competition, and that as long as you love, support, and guide your children on the best path - they’ll turn out (even if you have a bad parenting day) (which is totally normal)...
Here’s the thing. Fear is normal. Feeling like you’re a bad parent is also normal. Now you just have to rationalize those feelings, make the best of them, and move on! Staying stuck in those feelings ensures you miss out on all the good times you have with your kids, so get in and enjoy those knowing you’re doing everything you can to be the best parent you can be.There are a lot of reasons for these insecurities to come out, too many to name here. The reason for this post isn’t to bring up all those reasons, it’s to help you see who you really are as a parent. In order to do that, you need to rationalize those feelings so you don’t sink into a bad parenting hole.