What are you most afraid of? Big fears for many people include the fear of dying, being alone, losing someone you love, as well as the fear of failure. Recently, I had the courage to look closely at one of my greatest fears – the fear of failing as a mother. I know I’m not alone in this fear. Failing in my business, or in other parts of my life, feels insignificant in comparison. Failing as a mother, however, seems somehow unforgiveable, unspeakable, the worst thing I could do. Why is this fear so big? I think the fear is so big, in part, because the love is so big. I love my children in a way that transcends all boundaries. Words can’t do it justice. When they’re happy, I’m happy. When they hurt, I hurt too. I live, at least in part, for them and because of them. To destroy them, is to destroy a part of me. My fear also stems from my experience with my own parents. As children, we internalize the perceived failings of our parents. When they don’t love us the way we want them to, we think it’s our fault – that we’re bad, unlovable or somehow wrong. Our parent’s shortcomings (and all parents have them) become our wounds and these wounds can be hard to heal. I don’t want to cause such harm. So, what should I do with my fear? To live in it causes more harm than good. It makes me over-protective, over-controlling, and I give up too many of my needs, for my girls. What is required is an examination of my fear. What is really true? What I’ve come to is this. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever done and most probably will ever do. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be a perfect parent (there’s no such thing!). Some things I’ll just get wrong. Many things are also out of my control. The only thing I can do is my best. In most cases, a parent’s best is enough, often more than enough. Children are strong, resilient and forgiving. Most children, ultimately, find their way. So, if a parent’s best is enough for most kids, shouldn’t my best be enough for my girls and for me?
Being a parent is scary and hard. Fear of failure is almost assured. Acknowledge your fear. Perfection is not required, nor possible. Do your best. It’s all you’re ever required to do.