Last week I got a heavy smack in the face of reality. I have been failing my child. It is something that I completely didn’t see coming, and that in large part, is the problem. So just what do you do when you fail your child?
Last week, my oldest daughter brought home a low grade on her report card. The grade itself is not important, but the fact that I had not a clue that my child was struggling in that class and that it was even possible for her to bring a grade like that home was a huge smack in the face. Where the heck had I been? Why had I not been more on top of things? For heavens sake the school has a parent portal where I can see each and every one of her grades.
In speaking with teachers I learned that she wasn’t doing her part at school either. She had made some poor decisions regarding assignments and slacked on her work, thus resulting in the low grade. While part of me wanted to be angry with her, wasn’t she guilty of the same thing I was? Neglecting our responsibilities?
All that day I racked my brain trying to pin point where exactly I went wrong. At first I blamed PA school, and me going back to work. I blamed not having family and help close by. I blamed anything and everything until finally there wasn’t anyone left to blame but myself. And I finally realized it was about so much more than school.
Ever since the twins were born, they have taken up the majority of my focus. With a toddler in the mix too, I convinced myself that she was self sufficient and could take care of a lot of things on her own. In large part that is true, and she can. But I seem to have lost touch with the fact that just because she is 11, doesn’t mean she doesn’t need her mama. Heck, I am 32 and I still need my mama.
So just what do you do when you realize you have failed your child?
First you apologize, and then, You forgive yourself.
You forgive yourself and you make the changes necessary.
And just like I have to forgive myself, I have to let her know that she needs to forgive herself too. That she didn’t fail me because of a bad grade. She didn’t fail her teachers or her peers. She simply made a mistake. And that won’t define her.
And my mistakes won’t define me either.