I've been plagued through my life with depression. Many think depression is nothing more than a spiritual issue. I disagree, but it doesn't matter. Spiritual or not, I've wrestled with it most of my adult life and much of my younger years.
One thing my "thought life" has done to me has been to make me feel inadequate in most areas. As much as I might like to simply turn over a new leaf and wake up tomorrow with different thoughts in my brain, it's apparently much more involved than that. I do know one thing for certain, though. My thoughts very much determine my mood and self-criticism.
The one area that I've felt most feeble in is parenting (and I'm almost in tears just writing it). Maybe I was too young. I know I was too self-centered. I also know I wasn't selfless enough to give the time and effort I should have given. I was rigid and expected perfection. As an older adult, it's one of my deepest regrets.
On the bright side (I AM talking about turning over a new leaf, you know), both of our children turned out to be wonderful adults. Our daughter is generous to a fault. More thoughtful than I ever was. And working to deal with her own insecurities more successfully than I feel I did. Our son has achieved more than we could have ever dreamed. He is affluent, focused and a man of great integrity. He is a wonderful husband, father, and son. I'm amazed at the juggling act he has to do to keep all his balls in the air.
Looking at them, I'm less critical of myself. I could not have been a total failure for them to have turned out as beautifully as they have.
So, what did I do right? I spent countless hours reading to them, singing with them (teaching them harmony and helping Dondra learn her chords on the piano), taking them to the park and on picnics. We took them camping and on fun family vacations. I always tried to model integrity and uprightness. And it was very important to me that they knew God's ways and were aware of Him in their lives.
I'm intent on not beating myself up this Mother's Day. I want to appreciate the blessings I've received by having my children. The joy they've given me (and I hope I've given them), and the pride I feel when I look at them. I'm believing it isn't about perfection at the task, but the end result. In that regard, I've been a HUGE success!