There is no greater feeling, as a parent, than feeling like your hard work and intentional efforts are paying off. Unfortunately, there is also the feeling of working tirelessly to get your child to do or not do something and feeling like a complete failure. Society has convinced most parents that everything your child does is “your fault”, whether good or bad. If your child isn’t eating right, it’s “your fault”. If your child is 11 months old and not sleeping through the night, it is “your fault”. If your child is a genius, it’s “your fault”. You get the point.
I am not sorry to break it to you that not everything is in our control as parents and that is completely normal! Not every technique and parenting method works for every kid. When my son, Brayden was 2-months-old, some nights he slept in 3-hour chunks and other nights 6-hour chunks and even sometimes 8-hour chunks. In effort to seal the deal at 8-hour chunks I went as far as tracking what we did throughout the day that might affect his sleep only to discover that no two days were alike and baby boy was just going to wake up when he feels good and ready (or good and hungry). Thankfully, he has turned out to be a great sleeper, but I cannot take full credit for this. I strongly believe being a good sleeper is simply part of how God made him. I have a friend that has used a sleep coach and tried every technique known to man in effort to get her baby to sleep and he still wakes up every hour on the hour. Crazy right!? But how can it be "her fault" that he doesn’t sleep when she’s tried it all? The judgement or self-condemnation must stop. How our babies sleep, or do anything for that matter, is not an immediate indicator of our good or bad parenting skills.
Now, I am certainly not saying that there aren’t practices that we as parents can put into play that may increase the chances of our kids doing or not doing certain behaviors. However, there is no money-back guarantee on any one technique or style of parenting. Despite all these intentional practices, every kid is different and let’s be honest, some behaviors just come with the territory of parenthood. Toddlers will sometimes eat horribly, because of course bananas are nasty today, even though they were awesome yesterday (clearly a sensitive topic for me HAHA). You might be the best sleep coach in the world and still your own kid just can’t get right. I like to think that I am a pretty good disciplinarian, but my 2-year-old still manages to have meltdowns like it’s a personal goal of hers. I assure you, I don’t take all the blame for how she expresses herself during this period of her life. I. just. can’t.
I must say that you very likely are an overall great parent, but just as we can’t blame ourselves for every negative thing our children do, we unfortunately cannot always accept credit for every single positive thing our children do. At the end of the day, we as parents must remember that kids are going to be kids. They have their own brain, they are irrational and God wired them all differently. We do not control their every move and they are not our little robots. Our goal as parents is to do our best and celebrate each day we all make it out alive! We can’t get a big head or become self-righteous about our parenting skills and neither should we condemn ourselves when we don’t get the results we want. There will be good moments and bad moments and that simply means you are undeniably a parent and it's not all your fault.