Why We Should Be Easier On Our Parents
I love my parents. I don’t think that there was ever a moment when I didn’t love them. With that said, I didn’t always like them.
I know, I know, that sounds so harsh, but it was true. When I was a child, I felt that they were either fun loving adults, or belt-wielding maniacs. The things my sisters and I got in trouble for didn’t seem to always be that serious, and I couldn’t understand why my parents would fly off of the handle.
As my sisters and I got older, we would look at the decisions that our parents made and would judge them so harshly for it. From the way that my mother seemed so irritated, to the way my father seemed to focus on “stupid stuff,” a bunch of teenagers were having conferences about how our parents needed to “do better.”
I’m ashamed to admit that I kept that critique of my parents up until the first month of having my daughter.
At first I thought about the different mistakes that my parents made, and promising myself and my newborn that I wouldn’t do them. “I’ll never lose my patience with you.” “I’ll always listen to what you have to say.” “I promise that if you’re upset about something, I won’t make it seem like it’s stupid.”
But after the first month of daughter’s existence, that’s when I realized that I had some of the best parents in the world.
I don’t think that any sane parent ever thinks: “Hey, I’m gonna make my children sad.” As parents, we always go into each morning, day, event, and moment with: “I’m going to do the best that I can to make my child happy.” But then, stuff happens. While you’re juggling the stones that life can harshly throw at you, you’re also trying to make sure that your children have the best life they possibly can.
Sometimes that means working later, harder and that can sometimes make you more irritable. But at the end of the day, you’re doing all of this to benefit your child.
But the one thing that I feel the most ashamed about, when I think back on how haughty I looked back at the things I felt my parents should have done better, is how I conveniently ignored all the things they did right.
I never gave too much thought about how whenever my sisters or myself were vomiting, how my parents would stay up with us, all night, cleaning up after us if we missed the toilet/bucket, and bought us any medicine that we needed to help us get better. I didn’t realize the price of comfort and stability that my parents gave my sisters and I and how hard they had to work to keep that slightly pricey roof over our heads. My mind ignored the prices of band instruments, dance classes, math tutoring, piano classes, and name brand clothes that my parents kept us in. Not to mention the time consuming hours they spent seeing us perform, or waiting for us after practices, rewarding us when we did well, and encouraging us when we failed.
Now that I’m a parent, I spend as much time as I possibly can apologizing to my parents for not seeing how great they were. I realized that at the end of the day, you can’t do even half of those things for your children unless you truly love them.
So, my message to you, dear readers, is that if you had a great parent(s) or caregiver who might have made some mistakes, but you turned out to be a great adult, definitely cut them some slack. Yes, they might not have done everything right, but they did things to the best of their abilities, and that’s something for which they deserve credit.