Parenting; easily one of the hardest things any of us will ever do. I mean, aside from being a brain surgeon and having to separate conjoined twins at the frontal lobe, it's tough.

Oh, and also aside from birthing the child. As a man I can only speculate on the pain and difficulty, but having witnessed the birth of my son, and having had a kidney stone, I'd like to think I have a firm grasp on the physical difficulty of pushing a watermelon sized human out of a lemon-sized orifice.

 Now I'm just digressing.. the point here is, no matter how hard you try to succeed at being a parent, you will still fail. But don't worry- it's not nearly as bad as you think.
Number 1. No matter how hard you try to raise your child not to make irresponsible decisions, at some point, they're going to. Whether it be going 15 over the speed limit, trying alcohol underage or throwing a flaming RC car on the roof of their parent's house (sorry dad!), your child will mess up. The key is simply to understand early on that no matter how hard you parent, no matter how many values you try to instill, your child is still going to make decisions on their own- decisions you may have otherwise not made for them... and that's okay. It's all about how you've taught them to learn from the mistakes they make.
Number 2. Your child will look at you, if only for a moment, with discontent, anger and animosity. Yes, the proverbial love of a child is said to be unconditional and never ending. Which it is- except when you say no to that toy they have to have, dessert before dinner or homework before play. Whatever the reason, and as trivial as you think it to be, your child will, at some point, make you think they never loved you a day in their life. Hell, they might even TELL you that. But worry not fellow parents and parents-to-be. This is only temporary, and like you, they don't always mean what they say. Rest assured that decisions you make for your children are indeed the right ones, and their momentary lapses in polite and loving dialogue are just that- momentary.
Number 3. Your children can and will get by without you- eventually. As a parent we long for that feeling of being NEEDED. Whether it be for such minuscule things as tying a shoe, packing a lunch or wiping a teary face because someone at school was less than cordial with them in art class. As much as these things can drive us nuts as parents, we all secretly love being needed by our children. But brace yourselves- there will come a day when you won't be needed. There will come a day when you hear, "I've got this, mom." And that day isn't as far away as you think. Find solace in knowing that the reason they're okay without you, is indeed BECAUSE of you. Rejoice in the fact that you brought up a child in such a way that they've learned self-sufficiency, responsibility and independence. They're gonna be okay.. and so are you.
So whatever the reason that has you thinking you're a horrible parent and your child is going to turn out to be the spawn of Satan, you're wrong. And you're not alone. Raising a child isn't always sunshine and daffodils, matter of fact, MOST of the time it's not. Know, however, that you're doing a GREAT job, and that there is no handbook when it comes to parenting. (Whoops, just googled it and it turns out there is.. well never mind that).
Love them, hug them, kiss them, nurture them, support them and live for them. And I promise you from one parent to another... you'll both turn out just fine.
Much love,
Matt James