While it is certainly rewarding and fulfilling, being a parent is also one of the most challenging jobs I have ever undertaken.

As a parent it is easy to feel deeply inadequate and to experience guilt and shame in the face of the errors of which one is only too aware. It is tempting to pretend that we do not struggle. We want to be seen as good parents and long for our children’s behaviour to demonstrate what a fine job we are doing. The pressure we put on ourselves and feel we experience from people we are convinced are judging our parental ability can be unrelenting.

Most of us know in our hearts that our parental missteps are numerous. The things we have said or done as a parent that we long to take back or undo are legion. Most of us secretly harbour the fear that we are failures as parents.  We are often relentlessly pursued by a nagging insecurity about our ability as parents.

The skills of good parenting seem elusive. Frequently we find ourselves in situations with our children that we do not know how to manage. Children are complex, complicated little beings. Although we have all been children, it is often hard to remember what it was like to be a child. Oddly, childhood often feels to adults like strange uncharted territory.

Because we live inside the secret territory of our own awareness of failure, it is easy to feel that everyone else knows how to parent well and we alone are missing some essential ingredient for the task. We have not been adequately equipped to navigate the mysterious terrain of parenthood.

Parents seldom tell the truth about their deep sense of inadequacy as parents and their dark moments of despair when that nasty little voice in their heads tells them that they have finally ruined their children for life.

One of my favourite parents in the world recently sent me a blog posting that I found refreshing in its honesty and its vulnerability. The post from http://momastery.com/blog/2015/03/04/grace-good/ begins with a blisteringly honest picture of a parenting failure. But the writer does not get stuck in remorse, guilt, or shame. She moves on to a moment of genuine beauty and redemption.

She begins her story:

Last night I was in my cloffice finishing something up and I heard my girls start fighting for the seven millionth time. They were yelling at each other and their voices were getting louder and louder and I just got so pissed. I felt so DONE. I was so tired of their fighting that I totally forgot that peace begins with me and I lost it. I just lost it. I stood up and RAN out of my cloffice with such fury that I bashed my toes against the wall. And it hurt like a mother. It felt like a FIRE had just started on my foot. The pain traveled all the way to the top of my head and my entire existence became stubbed toe.  I looked up at Tish who had just walked into the room and I let out the F-bomb. Loudly. In her direction. And then with my most terrifying monster voice I growled. GET. OUT. GET. OUT! She immediately started crying hysterically – she thought I was dying – and she ran out. I let her go and I crumpled onto the floor.
ps. can anyone tell me what a “cloffice” is? At first I thought it was a misprint; but it is repeated frequently enough that I imagine it must be intentional.
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