There is a Chinese proverb that says respect for ones parents is the highest duty of civil life. Some good advice to heed, I think.
After all, your parents gave you life. They raised you the best they knew how. And they weren't perfect. But children don't come with instructions. You have to use common sense, instinct and pray that you are doing the right thing.
It's hard being a parent. It can be frustrating and it can test your patience. But we do the best we can.
There have been times when I know that I could have done better as a mom, maybe handling some situations differently. When I think back, a few things come to mind that I would LOVE to change. But I can't. So the best I can do is move forward from today and do better. The mistakes we make are made to learn by. And I hope that my children will grow up knowing that I did my best for them, because I love them, and in turn, they will do the same for their children.
It's easy for people who don't have children of their own to criticize parents for the way they raise their children, because they have no idea what it takes to raise a child. They can assume, they can imagine, but they don't know.
It's easy for you to pick apart the mistakes you think your own parents made raising you, because you were on the other end. You weren't the one responsible for another human being. You weren't the one getting up in the middle of the night, or changing the diapers, paying the bills, cooking the food, helping with homework, going to endless activities and doing your best to juggle it all while trying to smile.....and not lose yourself in the process. You weren't the one that had to put up with you!
There are those who seem to be so completely selfless that they do everything for their children but forget to take care of themselves. And then there are those who take a day for themselves now and then because it helps them refresh and unwind so they can handle the stress of being a parent better. The first type of parent might call the second type selfish. But I don't believe that. I believe that the ones who think they can do it all, no need for breaks, no need for time to themselves, are kidding themselves. Because parenthood can be stressful. And stress is unhealthy. We can't judge how good of a parent we are by how little we do for ourselves.
I know there are some really great parents out there that just don't get the respect they deserve from their children. Maybe those kids are holding grudges. Maybe they are unwilling to forgive and forget past mistakes. Maybe they don't have children of their own so they don't know how parents can really struggle balancing it all. But I think, if you are one of those people who haven't been very kind to your parents, do it now. Remember for every bad thing you choose to remember about your mom or your dad, there are a hundred wonderful things they have done for you. Why not choose to remember those instead? There are a thousand ways they have helped you out, given you what you wanted, put up with your attitude, and would probably do it all again, despite the fact that you didn't always show your appreciation. Why not give them the respect they deserve?
I'm sure that by the time my children are grown, I will have irritated them too many times to count. And I know they will have irritated me just as much. But I hope that we will learn to let the unimportant things go. Life is too short to dwell on the past. We cannot change it. What we can do is make the future better. We can choose to have a good relationship with our families. Our imperfect, flawed, wonderful families. Or? We can choose to be pig headed, self pitying, and keep dwelling on the fact that like us, our parents are not perfect. Most of us will outlive our parents. What will you do with the time you have left with yours?