I like to be hard on myself. It’s just the way I’m wired. I have since I was a child. It’s why my parents’ and grandparents’ biting words and sarcasm had such a negative affect on me. I was already thinking I was a problem, and they just reinforced that.
When I look back on the last 18 years of parenting, it’s difficult for me to see even one thing I did right. I was often angry, often promised to do something, then only started it without finishing. There were a lot of things I messed up.
Recently, I was forced to write out a list of things another person had done wrong. That was really hard, even though that person was my husband and it’s pretty well documented at this point that he has issues he doesn’t want to deal with and those issues effected the kids and me negatively. It was an exercise in frustration because I hate rehashing the past (unless it’s to beat myself up), especially when there is no way to improve it because the other person really doesn’t see that any of the things he did were wrong.
As I was talking through some of the things I had to write out, I realized something I hadn’t thought about before. I realized that, yes, I was trying to help my kids. Not perfectly, but I spent their lives trying to find ways that we could be a family, things that would help them connect with their father, who wasn’t interested in doing that.
When they had problems, I researched and tried to find solutions. Honestly, if I hadn’t, Spock wouldn’t be here right now. I tried to get to know them and encourage their interests, even if they weren’t mine. In all truth, I was a tomboy who played basketball and was somewhat obsessed with baseball stats. Ballet was never my thing. I probably attended two ballets in my entire life before Farmer Boy danced in his first Nutcracker. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it just wasn’t something I pictured myself being so deeply involved with.
Once I realized this, I realized further that things were going to be OK. I wasn’t the huge failure I liked to think. I guess I learned from this that it is really detrimental to be so hung up on everything you’ve ever done wrong. It just creates despair which never begets anything good. Maybe what we should really do, is see ourselves the way Christ sees us.