I was chatting with a friend yesterday and she gave me some excellent food for thought. You know those times when you feel your whole way of thinking has been turned sideways? It's like that. I've been munching on it ever since.
For many years I've realized my mother really did the best she could as a parent. Before that, I spent many years believing she could have done better but chose not to. I also spent many years punishing her for her failure to do better.
I was talking about this with the friend. She said the same: "They did the best the could with their lives at the time."
Then she hit me with this: "But maybe it's expecting too much that they give their best -- I didn't give my best as a parent."
WHAT?! You mean, cut parents some slack? Just as we do for people performing EVERY OTHER KIND OF WORK? Gadzooks.
Where did we get this idea that parents (especially mothers) must do their very best? Give 110%? Outperform all other mothers? Crazy. What would it mean to accept that my mother and all other mothers did just okay? Some days, excellent. Some days, not so good. Overall, slightly better than average.
Like I said, food for thought. Thanks, renate.