You know they say we're our own "worst enemy", or biggest critic? Before you become a parent, I think you tend to notice examples of parents, both good and bad, and say to yourself "I'm going to be like that" or "Oh! I'll NEVER do that!" We build those expectations about what kind of parent we're going to be long before we bring baby home! Then suddenly, about 6 mos into our parenting days, you realize you ARE that parent you swore you'd never become! Or, you find yourself dwelling on all the ways you feel you're not measuring up to those ideals you saw.
What I've learned is to really let go of these expectations, forgive my shortcomings and grow along with my children. Also, I learned that making comparisons can be deadly to your self esteem! Of course, as a single parent, raising all my children(7 total) on my own, those ideals were far from my reality. And everyone seemed to me to have a better situation. So, the biggest challenge I think I faced was becoming resolved to the realities, and learning to love the way things are, rather than focusing on how I wish things were or how others seemed to have things better! When I decided to let go of all those expectations and just love my life, I was much happier! And I believe I became a better parent, with genuine focus on the good things in my life, rather than what didn't seem "right", as compared to others.
I want to encourage all parents to really enjoy what you've been blessed with! Let go of your ideals and accept the realities of your life and your child. Decide not to compare your child with all those others, who appear to be perfect. Everyone has shortcomings, and your limited vision might not show their imperfections. But, when you compare, you only end up coming up short yourself or feel slighted. Instead, look to your instincts and your child. LOVE who you are and appreciate the lovely child you've been blessed with. Decide that you're ENOUGH, just the way you are! And decide you can forgive yourself.
Dwelling on our shortcomings can actually hold us back from growth. Understand, you're not only parenting and facilitating the growth of your child, you're also growing as a parent and a person. You'll change and grow along with your child and learn so much over the coming years! Be thankful for all the great things you've yet to learn, rather than judging yourself for what you don't yet know. Ditch those expectations and love the reality of today! And appreciate all the great things your tomorrow will bring. When my twins were babies, I wondered if I would ever get a full night's sleep again. Now that they are sixteen, and so independent, those days seem a distant memory! Your momentary reality will pass, but your love and the beautiful experiences will last forever!