I once heard a conversation with a parent who worked from home as a writer. She spent a lot of time with her six year old daughter, but much of it was while she was busy working at her computer. She expressed sadness that she wasn’t “there” for her daughter. She wished her daughter had a “better mom”.
The other person in the conversation leaned over the table and spoke so passionately she was almost angry. She said (as best as I can remember):
Your daughter does not need a better mom! She needs YOU just as you are. So you’re the mom who works on her laptop all day. So what? She thinks you’re awesome! Get her a little desk and her own laptop and sit side by side “working” all day. The mom she needs is the mom she already has.
The mom squealed, “Oh my god she would love that!” and then she broke down in tears.
You are the parent your child needs.
You forget sometimes.
You forget that your child loves you unconditionally. You don’t give yourself that same acceptance, and so you struggle to be someone else for them. But the only person they need is you. If you can just BE you, you are already giving them the parent they want.
Does that mean that you never have to change? No, of course not. If you need to make changes, make them. But the change does not involve becoming a different person.
What if you lose your temper at your kids, spank them, or do something else that you know isn’t in their best interests?
I like to think about the idea of a true self, the person at the core of yourself once you release fear. I believe that you ARE being yourself when you work to give up anger, resentment, guilt, and fear.
Additional Reading: This fun little book is full of neat little mental tricks and unique ideas for bringing more positivity into your life – Creating a Charmed Life: Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know (affiliate link).
What if you somehow believe that these negative feelings “are” you? If your personal history makes negativity a core part of yourself, you may need professional help in addressing these patterns.
While that is happening, you can still be yourself to your child. You’re the parent who is working through things and sometimes messes up, who apologizes a lot and needs a lot of forgiveness. Embrace that. Be that.
At the end of the day, there’s no one else. Your child needs you.
Just you. Just like you are. Imperfect. Unique.
Let their unconditional love for you guide you towards accepting yourself and being yourself with your child.
The only parent your child needs is YOU just like you are.