I can honestly sit here and say that as a father of a daughter I’ve made plenty of mistakes. The mistakes I’ve made have been big and small. As time goes on, I have gotten better at not overreacting to my mistakes. We all have this very idyllic mindset about what parenting should be. No one wants to fail their children. The mistakes you make aren’t failures. You should never burden yourself with the thought that a mistake is a failure. A mistake is exactly what it sounds like, and you need to get over it.
Bumps, bruises, and tears
When I was younger, I wasn’t around many kids. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to be around children. I always thought that children cried because they were being abused. I was that guy who gave you dirty looks at the store when your kid was crying. Now I understand why kids cry at the store. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t want to sit in the stroller for more than five seconds. It has nothing at all to do with being abused or anything like that at all.
I remember when my daughter was very young and she would bump her head on something. I would be so fearful her doing anything at all. Eventually, she did bump her head, and I felt like a terrible parent. How could I have not been there to make sure she didn’t fall? I’m not talking about me being fifty feet away while she was on the playground. I’d be a foot or two away while she was playing in the living room. I felt like the worst father on planet earth when she fell. I didn’t realize at the time that babies do fall. There is no way that you can protect them 100% of the time. It’s just not possible. The only mistake there was thinking that somehow I could prevent anything at all from ever happening.
Mistakes are an educational process
The only way you learn how to do anything is by doing it. You’ve probably been told a million times you’re doing something wrong by people who don’t have children. Typically they have no idea what they’re talking about. You only learn from experience. You could read a hundred books on how to fly a plane and still not have a clue on how to get that sucker in the air. That’s just the way life is. Your mistakes will help you become a better parent. The average mistake you make isn’t a life-changing event. Ten years from now you’ll more than likely laugh at the mistakes you made.
Parents grow right alongside their children
You aren’t the same person today as you were before your children were born. Your life changes every step of the way through parenthood. You can’t allow yourself to get hung up on the small things. You want to do what’s best. The thought of failing your child makes you sick. Humans make mistakes, and that’s the only consistent thing throughout history. You better get used to it. You’re going to make a lot more mistakes as time goes on. The important thing is that you focus on being a good parent. Spend your energy focusing on providing a good life for your child and being a reliable moral compass. The little bumps along the way may have bruises, but they’re just skin deep.