On a good parenting day I:
- Effortlessly navigate toddler tantrums using progressive conflict resolution techniques.
- Lead my children in well-planned and executed cultural adventures which exercise both body AND mind.
- Whip up diverse, nutritionally balanced meals in 10 minutes flat which EVERYONE eats and thanks me for.
- End our fun-packed day with calming and educational bedtime stories, prayers and mutual declarations of our love (to various celestial objects and back).
I feel invincible! Nothing can stand against my parenting prowess!
On a bad day I:
- Scream at the toddler who is screaming at me.
- Tell myself that napping on the floor surrounded by toys IS the same thing as playing with my children.
- Serve pasta every day but EVERYONE screams because I did it wrong / gave them the wrong colour bowl.
- End our fun-packed day with bargaining, threats and storm out of my kids’ room as they hurl insults at me.
I feel ashamed of my failure, hoping none of this finds its way onto social media..
I need help.
The truth is, small things like neglecting to provide my kids with constant intellectual stimulation and having limited culinary motivation is NOT failing.
Big things like being selfish, unkind, domineering and aggressive IS.
So, I need help. I can’t ‘win at parenting’ all by myself. Yes, I need support from my friends and my gracious wife. But more than this, I need something bigger and better than myself. For me, this help comes from God through his perfect example of loving kindness and the freedom he gives me.
I want change.
I’m so glad that when I DO fail, I can find acceptance and forgiveness from my wife, my kids, my friends and God. But, I want more than that. I want change.
So, with the help I’ve got, I’m determined not to stay as I am. I’m going to move forward. By the grace of God, I am becoming a better father and husband.
Because a few parenting fails do not make a failing parent.
By Si Cook