Updated: May 4, 2018
“Always do your best” is the 4th agreement in the book, The Four Agreements.
You might have just cringed as you read that because as parents, we are so hard on ourselves. We expect ourselves to be perfect every minute of every day. To always be patient, empathetic, know exactly the right thing to say and do in every situation and never screw it up. And when we aren’t patient, empathetic, and are at a loss for the right words, we feel horrible. We commiserate with our friends about how badly we screwed up.
This might seem like a silly example but a time I felt like I screwed up big time as a parent was when Chloe was in preschool. We walked into the classroom and all the kids were wearing orange. I had forgotten ‘orange day’. Poor kid was in her standard uniform of pink and purple. My self-critic had a field day with that one! I was the only parent out of 20 or so who didn’t remember!
When it comes to the always to your best agreement, the most important message to be shared isn’t actually trying to do your best every day; it was what don Miguel Ruiz says to do when we know we aren’t doing our best – don’t judge yourself for it.
Some days doing your best means you are going to be a rock star parent. Some days it means, you are tired and snap at the first annoyance of the day and forget ‘orange day’. Just keep trying to do your best, for that day.
If you have done something you wish you hadn’t, apologize for it and move on. Try your best not to do it again but accept that it might happen. Give the acceptance you would give a friend to yourself. Next time you are being hard on yourself because you snapped, or felt like you said the wrong thing, try not to get into a tailspin of judging yourself. Acknowledge that life can be hard and no one is perfect. Give yourself acceptance, and then move on to continue trying to do your best.
If you have your own 'orange day' story to share, post it in the comments!