As I was walking on the beach one day with a friend of mine, she was telling me about finding an old tape recording of herself and her brother when they were young. They were playing loudly and in the background her mother was yelling something about how they were driving her crazy. The funny thing was, my friend did not really recall her mother ever being stressed or overwhelmed with her as a child. We laughed because, now as parents ourselves, we know how often she must have been.
When I think about my own childhood, there are very few instances, involving my parents, that stand out. In my memories, my parents are just a constant, loving presence in my life. My life and self knowledge was so intertwined with theirs, especially my mom since she was home with me, that I have very few solid memories of them either being happy with me or irritated with me. With this realization, I have felt much more relaxed and at peace about my own parenting. I have good days and bad days. On the bad days, I used to feel very guilty and beat myself up over my poor parenting. I'd wonder how my children were ever going to survive my moods and crazy moments. Now, I am pretty sure that they are not really going to remember specific days or details. My ups and downs are just the predictable flow and routine of their lives (although I must not ever give up in trying to be the best mommy I can be at all times).
Overall, I hope that my children only feel and remember how much I love them because that is what I remember about my parents. Being loved is the greatest starting point for the rest of life and the greatest gift I can give my children.