There's a ton of pressure on parents today - from balancing work and family to fostering resilience and staying positive. Sometimes we all need a reminder about how capable we are of making this whole parenting thing a success. Sure, those snuggles and belly laughs more than make up for all the tough days, but keeping a few reminders for parents in mind can help you keep your sanity (and your cool).
Know That Anything You Feel Is Okay
Not feeling that parenting joy today? That's okay. It's also totally fine if you are having one of those perfect days where it's all going well.
One of the most important reminders for parents is that there's no wrong way to feel. It's okay if you don't like your kids every moment or feel like you're winning all the time. How you feel is like the weather; there will be cloudy moments and sunny moments. It's all normal and natural.
Make Time for Self-Care (Even Just a Little)
When you're got little ones at home or teens to drive everywhere, there isn't always a ton of time for you. The thing is, everyone needs a break, even if it's just a moment to relax in the bathtub or read a chapter of a good book. Just a 10-minute walk around the block (without that stroller) can be enough to give you a little recharge.
As parents, a lot depends on us. Part of that responsibility we have as parents involves taking care of yourself. If you're not doing well, no one is. And if you are, well, you have way more to give to everyone else.
Define Parenting Success for Yourself
In this era of social media, there's so much to compare yourself to. Add in the mountain of parenting advice out there, and it's a recipe for impossible standards. The thing is, kids don't need perfect bento box lunches and hands-on nature activities every moment of the day. They just need you to love them and try your best.
Take a few minutes to set your minimum standards for parenting success. We really mean "minimum" too. What's the lowest bar you can set and still feel like you're doing a good job? If you exceed that standard, that's an awesome day, but the normal days won't feel like parenting fails if you keep your standards for yourself reasonable.
Trying to be perfect can make parents way more likely to experience burnout, but studies show that taking care of yourself and allowing imperfection can help you keep up your reserves and feel more successful.
Take a Sec to Wait (and Breathe)
Waiting is hard - and not just for kids with a dessert in front of them. Parents need reminders to wait too, and there are a bunch of situations where taking a second can help you and your kid:
- Take a breath before reacting to stressful moments and conflict. It's a form of self-care, and it gives your mind time to adjust to the situation before you speak or act.
- Wait before helping your kid. If they're struggling with homework or climbing the play structure or tying their shoes, give them just a minute or two to struggle (and maybe succeed).
- Sit with silence when you ask a question. Kids can take a few moments to process a question and come up with their answer, and that silence while you're waiting can feel awkward. It's important, though, because it lets your kid know you're willing to wait to hear what they have to say.
Say No When You Need To
Does the school want you to volunteer, even though your schedule is already booked? Does your boss want you to work late, even though you need time for your kids? Learning to say no isn't easy, but it can be an important skill for parents. Setting boundaries about your time can help you be your best parenting self.
Boundaries are also important for kids. We're not just talking about bedtime and screen time (though those are important too). Kids have so many options for fun activities these days, but over-scheduling can max out their stress and yours. Decide how many extracurriculars you want to do and stick to that limit to save everyone's sanity.
Check in With Yourself on Tough Days
Some days are just...hard. There's no other way around it. When kids are melting down and you're not far behind them, try to check in with yourself a little more often. This parenting reminder for tough days can help you get through those stressful times with a little extra mindfulness.
To check in, ask yourself how you're feeling in this moment. Remember, every feeling is okay here. Check with your body to see where you feel tense or where things are hurting. Try to relax those muscles and reassure yourself that bedtime always comes around eventually.
Remember That Today Is a Fresh Start
Sure, yesterday may have been a bit of a disaster at points. We all have those days. The key is to keep moving forward. Know that each day is a fresh start.
It's pretty easy to let the previous day's challenges carry over into your new day, but it's a worthwhile reminder for parents to start with a clean slate. This applies to both you and the kids. Let go of yesterday's mistakes any chance you get.
Forgive Yourself for Not Being Perfect
If we're being honest here, parenting is pretty much the hardest (and most rewarding) job there is. Everyone has those days where things feel a little overwhelming, and no one feels perfect all the time. It's totally normal to feel like you're failing from time to time.
The point of parenting isn't perfection; it's just trying your best. The fact that you don't feel perfect means you're putting in a lot of effort here. Give yourself an A for effort, even if you aren't scoring 100%. No one aces this whole parenting thing.
Stay Balanced and Healthy With a Few Reminders for Parents
Parenting stress is real, but keeping a few things in mind can help you stay balanced and healthy despite the pressure. From time to time, give yourself a few reminders to take care of yourself and forgive your imperfections. You'll be a better parent to your kids and a happier person too.