An interesting title for a lifestyle post, and we can almost see you cringe as you read it thinking, oh no not another ‘ten easy steps to parenting’ post! Well, keep reading because we do not believe that any short post like this can make you a better parent than what you already are. If you are the typical mom (or dad), the chances are you are already working more hours that there are in a day doing housework or paid work, running the kids around, helping with homework, feeding the family, and keeping up with all the thousand other things that need to be done once kids arrive on the scene. And did we mention trying to make time for sleep and a little romance as well!
Yes, we have been there too, so we know all about raising three kids and many grandchildren as well. So we are not going to preach at you, but rather use this as a check-in, where you can take five minutes to catch your breath, grab a coffee, and have a quick read about what works for us. And if just one idea resonates with you, then you might just find that tomorrow comes a bit easier for you than today. Perhaps when all hell breaks loose in the house tonight, you might just try something different to see if it works. If it does, great, life just became a little easier, and in so doing, perhaps you became a better parent as well!
So, make that coffee and let’s run quickly through five things that helped us become better parents.
- stop looking at how easy other moms seem to do this whole ‘family’ thing and making comparisons to yourself – a sleep deprived, angry, neurotic who will never understand algebra no matter how much homework you attempt! You are who you are, and if you believe in God (and even if you don’t) you need to understand that you are who you were meant to be. You don’t need to be ‘that’ perfect mom, because in truth, even she isn’t. Every parent struggles at time with kids and running a household, so stop beating yourself up. Accept who you are right now, and know that you are giving it the very best shot you can. And believe it not, your kids love you for it.
- think like a dad for a day. Stay with us here, please. While I stress over every little thing to do with the kids I know my husband doesn’t. He is a great dad and loves the kids dearly, but on any given day I know he is able to make quick decisions about something to do with this family, without the endless internal chatter that goes on in my head with all those what-if questions: what if their yellow shirt clashes with their green shorts? what if they didn’t like their peanut butter sandwiches for lunch cut into squares? what if, what if, what if. Guys don’t tend to over-analyse every little thing that goes on in their life. They just assess a situation and make a decision. Then five minutes later they can move on and forget about what they just did or said. So today moms, just try thinking like a guy and see if the stress just drops away (well, a little, anyway).
- book some daily ‘me-time’ when you can get away into the garden or bedroom and do something special for yourself. Have your partner or friend take the kids for 30 minutes while you meditate, read a book, paint, or even just close your eyes and let your brain slow down to near-normal again. This time should be viewed as an imperative every day where you can relax, refocus and de stress. It is too easy to think that only you can do something, or that no one else can do such and such. STOP! You are not indispensable, and you need to allow others to help you so you can be that better parent.
- we have said it before and we will keep on saying it until we take our last breath. Being a good parent is not about how quiet your kids can be in front of the TV set. It IS about how much they want to spend time with you reading a book, doing a jigsaw, digging up worms, or whatever they love to do. Anyone can BE a parent – it just means to produce or bring forth a child. But TO parent correctly is an entirely different matter. It takes time and effort, and above all else, real involvement with the kids every day.
- a great quote reminds us that we soon forget what people tell us but we never forget how they make us feel. Try to remember that when you are around your kids. Do you talk at them or with them? Are you angry at them or loving towards them? Will they remember you for the hard words you used or the love you shared. Being a good parent is a decision to make a difference in the lives of your little ones so that they can grow up confident and full of understanding, compassion and love for others. It starts with you making a decision to BE a better parent and to practice it every single day.
Will you join us in becoming a better parent? Why not drop us a short comment below to let us know you are committed to doing the best job in the world, as well as you can. Then keep in touch and let us know how you go, and any suggestions you might have for other moms (and dads) doing it tough.
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
Empowering people to live a healthy, active, authentic and fulfilling life.
Adelaide, South Australia.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.