I post pictures of my kids on Facebook and Instagram or here on the blog doing stuff that’s noteworthy or admirable or whatever all the time.
Like this picture of Number 5 when she was Timon in the 4th grade play:
And this one of Number 3 the night of his 8th grade graduation:
And this one of Number 4 on the podium at a big swim meet in Florida:
And this one of Number 7 receiving an award for her math achievement:
And this one of Number 5 playing baseball:
It’s nice to share those moments when you are proud of your kids.
But don’t get me wrong.
My kids are not perfect.
My kids are nowhere near perfect.
They mess up all the time.
They say and do stupid things.
Sometimes they say and do stupid things intentionally.
Other times, they say and do stupid things unintentionally.
Sometimes they do and say little stupid things.
And sometimes they do and say big stupid things.
Just like me.
Just like all of us.
None of us are perfect.
Some of my kids mess up more often than others.
But they all mess up.
Everyone messes up.
I do stuff I wish I hadn’t done all the time, and I say stuff I wish I hadn’t said all the time.
And in those times, I do my best to pause and reflect and figure out where I went wrong and what I need to do so that I don’t repeat that same mistake.
Sometimes it takes me a whole bunch of tries to get it right.
Sometimes it only takes one fuck up for me to have my a-ha moment.
Same with my kids.
Sometimes they figure it out quickly.
Other times, it takes a little longer.
I don’t share their screw ups on Facebook or here on the blog not because they don’t happen, but because that would be kind of shitty of me to do.
I share my own screw ups for multiple reasons.
I share them to remind other people that they aren’t alone.
We all mess up and we will all continue to mess up.
We will mess up in little ways and in big ways.
I mean, I’m 49 years old, and I sent an email this past weekend that I wish I could have a do-over on.
I’ve said things recently to people that I wish I hadn’t said.
I’ve sent texts that were regrettable.
I’ve spoken to my kids in ways I wish I hadn’t.
I’ve spoken to my husband in ways I wish I hadn’t.
We are human, and these things happen.
The best thing we can do is not to beat ourselves up over this stuff, but to take some time to reflect, figure out where we went wrong, and then do differently and better next time.
If we mess up as adults, then our kids do this even more.
They can’t help it.
They are still learning!
We are all still learning.
There is no kid out there who is flawless.
Because there is no human out there who is flawless.
So I may share my kids’ great moments and accomplishments with the world (and their permission).
But their mess ups?
I like to call them opportunities.
We have lots of opportunities for growth in our house.
I don’t share that stuff.
But if I did, there would be plenty to share.
Who knows, though.
Maybe if they see me putting my stuff out there enough, they’ll follow my lead.
They’ll acknowledge their mistakes and own them. Publicly.
Without fear of judgment from other people.
And when the day comes that they are willing to do that, there probably won’t be a picture to document it.
But that will definitely be one of my proudest parenting moments of all.