Face it, parenting is hard work. Some days you do get that idyllic feeling you thought and dreamed motherhood would be like, but most often you are met with challenges, power struggles and the doubt that can creep into our confidence.
Parenting is not just about providing food, clothing, shelter, education and extra-curricular activities, it is so much more. Everyday you make decisions that will affect your child in one way or another and it is important you are coming from a place of purpose rather than just making it through the day
When I share with other moms what I feel is critical to their success, they certainly aren’t surprised, but so often in the everyday we forget some of the focus of our parenting and spend way too much time on things that really may not matter all that much and set aside the stuff that does. Many ‘aha’ moments can trigger action and intentional steps to change patterns of behavior that are not serving them well. This happens all the time in the coaching and courses I offer. When you can take time to evaluate yourself, a lot of growth happens, and that is the key to parenting well – continuing to grow in the journey.
Here are a few ideas to help you start evaluating where you are in your parenting journey.
Be Aware of Your Strengths
If you were to sit down and list what you feel you are good at and what you feel you are not, it might be the best thing you could do today. So often, we just try to do it all – no matter how it plays to our natural ability. Each of us has areas where we excel and areas in which we struggle.
Why not jump off from those areas of strength rather than continue to battle against yourself with things that are hard and take way more energy?
Obviously this is not a blanket statement, there are still things we need to do whether we are really good at it or not, but realizing whether you are naturally organized, more carefree or drawn to be more introverted is important to keeping balance and harmony in your life, which results in a happy home.
Take Good Care of Yourself
This is often the most talked about topic with moms. After we uncover all the “issues” of why they actually came to me, which often children centered, we quickly realize there is a severe lack of care for mom. You cannot take care of anyone if you are not refreshed – period. We can come up with excuse after excuse as to why we don’t have time to do for ourselves, or don’t have the funds – but the reality is, this is not an option, it is a requirement.
Take some time to determine what you are missing, what can you do to change it – can you get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning so you can set your day up for success and have some quiet time? How about getting outside to walk or inviting a friend over for coffee. You do need to be creative, find ways to make sure you are eating well, getting the activity you need to keep your body in tip top working condition and input things that nourish your spirit. If you need some help in this area, make sure you check out my friend and colleague, Lisa Byrne’s new The M.A.P.P. Gathering is all about coming together as modern mothers and entering a dialogue about what it looks like to navigate mothering in the world while keeping a strong sense of yourself and your passions. You won’t want to miss it! M.A.P.P. gathering.
Show Your Love
Parenting is a lot of putting out fires and dealing with unforeseen circumstances, but in all of that we have to be in a place where we are parenting from the heart. Along with expectations, consequences, chores and homework, there has to be a generous dose of hugs, smooches, laughter and silliness. Connecting with your child’s heart and finding ways to show them your love is critical in the success of your relationship. If you do not have discipline along with love, you are providing a very unbalance environment that will eventually backfire.
Put nearly as much attention on finding ways to show your child your heart as you do coming up with new methods and tools in your parenting tool box. If your child feels connected to you their behavior tends to shift into a more cooperative mode. If your child is getting the time they need with you I can guarantee you will have fewer frustrating situations throughout your day. If the only time you share together is running from one activity to the next in the car, you may want to reevaluate.
Have a vision of what you would like your relationship with your child to look like. How about what you want your home to be like? What kind of future do you want for yourself and your child? Spend time truly considering what your ‘perfect’ family situations might look like. (There is no perfect, by the way, but we can have a much clearer positive vision if we look for the best). The more you envision what your desired outcome would look like, the more you can design the steps to get it to become a reality.