I know how I want to parent. I know the parent I want to be and the one I want to avoid being at all costs. I also know what a huge chasm separates my perception of the parent I judge myself as being and the parent that I really am. See, all I remember is that I am the bad guy. The one that says "NO!!!". The one that yells only 10 minutes after I vow to myself to stop the yelling. I see grand visions of homeschooling during the summer and then I find myself starting when the summer is halfway through! I tend to focus on my screw ups and failures. I don't want to, I just do.
I realize that kids will be kids and there is never a "perfect" way to parent. Does that stop the inner voice from pointing out what I am doing wrong? Nope. So I do listen to that voice because I think it makes me a better parent. I try to balance the negative inner voice with listening to what my kids are saying. To what other people say when they are around my kids.
I think we (parents in general) are our own worst enemies sometimes. We COMPARE our kids with others and it kind of skews our perception of our own kids. So I try to use it in a positive manner. I try to use the comparison compulsion to improve my parenting and to see the things I want to encourage in my kids. If I see a kid in a store (for example) and they are making their mother crazy with running around or not listening...... I try not to think "I'm glad my kids don't act that way" because sometimes they do. I try to think "If my kids act like that, I think I would try to get them to be my little helpers by putting things in my cart or taking turns pushing the cart." When a neighbor's kid gets wild and starts playing rough, I try to tell myself that my youngest sometimes acts like that and I should point out to him his own reaction when the neighbor's kid gets too rough with him and how others must feel when he gets too rough.
I guess I should be glad that I am so hard on myself because that means I am never taking parenting for granted and I am always thinking about my kids and ways that I can improve my relationship with them and their relationship with people around them. I hope that they have memories as adults of the fun things I choose to do with them and not the yelling mom I tend to see myself as, but as I evolve as a mom, I can always make new memories with them.