My son keeps a journal for school, and we love reading it together at the end of each month. This month, his class spent a week journalling about food—favorite foods, holiday meals, and so on. I was shocked when I read his entry: “My favrit brekfis is pancaeks. My mom makes the BEST pancaeks EVR!!!!!”
I always considered those pancakes a personal failure, something that happened on mornings when I was so tired that all that I could manage was frozen pancakes, microwaved for 30 seconds. They were the backup to my backup meals, but to him, they were “the BEST!”
Jill Krause of Baby Rabies wrote recently on the value of reframing what we see as parenting failures by seeing them from the perspective of our children. “Your kids,” she writes, “will remember the time you spend with them and the feelings they had. They don’t have the frame of reference or the experience to know when something isn’t going to plan or isn’t the way you remember it being when you were a child.”
Now I can find some joy in those frantic everything-going-wrong mornings, knowing that what I was calling a parenting flop is actually a special treat from mom—in the eyes of my son.
—Self-evaluation is an important part of parenting, but do your best to be kind to yourself.
—What we view as failures may be our children’s favorite memories.
—It’s the love behind our actions that our children will absorb.