I Know I’m Not A Perfect Parent, I Just Want To Be ‘Enough’


Guest Post Written by Kimberly Zapata

Dearest Daughter,

Today, you woke up at 5 a.m.

You spilled milk on the carpet and dumped a carton of raisins on the kitchen floor. You colored on your bedroom wall, and you screamed in my face — your whole body shook with anger and rage — when I tried to discipline you. When I tried to tell you what you were doing was not acceptable. When I tried to explain why your behaviors were not OK.

Did I mention this was all before 7?

And, if I’m being honest with you, I was furious. I felt angry and broken. I wanted to cry and yell back. I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away. (Heck, part of me wanted to give you a swift pat on the butt.) But I didn’t. Instead, I paused and swallowed hard. Instead, I bent down and leaned forward. Instead, I spoke to you softly and calmly.

(I mean, how could I possibly tell you screaming is unacceptable if I was doing same?)

And, through tears, you listened. You acknowledged your mistakes. You hugged me, and you said “I sowwy.”

“I sowwy, Mommy.”

We quickly went back to playing — you made me a plate of muffins and a cup of tea — and, just like that, the “incident” was behind us. Just like that, things were back to “normal.”

I wish I could say things always go this smoothly. I wish I could say I always react with a level-head, and I wish I could say you are always that receptive, but that would be a lie. Sometimes, you scream more. You cry more. Sometimes you kick and hit and even try to bite. And sometimes I do the same — not with biting or hitting — but with my words. With the volume and tone of my voice.

Because I don’t always react the way I want to. I don’t always react the way I need to, and sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I mess up.

So what was different about today? Nothing. I mean, maybe the stars were aligned or I had JUST enough coffee in my system to function, but I think I just got lucky.

Today, I took a breath and got lucky.

Parenting is hard, and I am far from perfect. (So, SO far.) But I don’t aspire to be perfect. I don’t aspire to be great, and I don’t even aspire to be good. I just aspire to be enough: enough for myself. Enough for you, my dearest daughter. And enough in each and every moment.

Because I love you. With each and every ounce of my being I love you. Even when I am the one screaming. Even when I am the one saying “I’m sorry.”

(This post originally appeared on http://sunshineandspoiledmilk.com/)

About the author: Kimberly Zapata is the creator of Sunshine Spoils Milk, a blog dedicated to mental health and motherhood. Her work has appeared on Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Babble, MomBabble, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Little Things, YourTango, The Mighty, Yahoo Health, and in two anthologies: So Glad They Told Me - Women Get Real About Motherhood and Lose The Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!). Follow Kimberly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.