Parenting is the most fulfilling “job” there is. However, at times it can leaves parents feeling overwhelmed and left with the guilt of feeling like they could do better.
If you’re like me, then you’ll try to convince yourself that you are doing your best, which is enough for you and your kids.
Unfortunately, this is not true. You can do better. And I’m here to explain how.
Before we start, don’t feel bad for not doing all of these things on this list. Why? Because you’re not perfect, none of us are. We can’t have it all figured out (even though we might pretend to). And that’s OK. It’s better this way, anyways. Our kids need us to not be perfect.
So, with that being said, just pick one thing from this list and try to work towards making it be a constant thing in your life that eventually you are able to do on autopilot. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to be the whole list.
- Stop punishing your kids. This is one I definitely am struggling with, but I’m trying really hard to be that mom who talks to their kids instead of yelling at them when they do something wrong. According to cnbc, punishing your kids could psychologically damage them. Unlike when we were kids, the authoritative parenting style is no longer appropriate. The key here is instead of disciplining your child by putting them in timeout or grounding them, you should explain to them how what they did makes you feel. For example, if your child throws their food on the floor without picking it up, you can simply say to them “I feel disappointed that you didn’t pick up your food that you threw onto the floor.” And then maybe add a little fun to the lesson, such as “when you leave your food on the floor, we can’t slide across the hardwood in our socks,” and then demonstrate what you mean.
- Play with your children more. There are so many reasons parents should play with their kids on a daily basis. It’s just something we need to make time for. Whether it’s for an hour, 30 minutes before bed, once they wake up, or while you’re cooking dinner it’s so important. When parents play with their kids, they develop a stronger connection and develop trust for one another. According to creative child, children who play with their parents are able to “build problem solving skills,” see things through a different perspective, and learn how to interact successfully with others. By playing with our children, we are able to connect, or in some cases- reconnect, with our children. It’s something so simple and easy, yet, it’s overlooked by so many because we are all living such busy lives.
3. Show your kids they are loved unconditionally. While you might think this is one of the more obvious ones, you might want to take a step back and actually check to make sure you are showing your children that you love them unconditionally. While you more than likely do, they might not be able to see that, which means down the line they may hide certain things from you. Every once and a while leave a little note or simply say “Hey, I love you no matter what,” and then maybe follow-up with, “You know that, right?” to make sure they’re actually listening to your words.
4. Stop using your phone or tablet to keep your children occupied. I know. You’re out to dinner and your toddler won’t sit still so you set up their favorite show on your phone to keep them quiet. I get it, I’ve been there. If this is something you do once in a while, I don’t see much of a problem with it. However, if this is happening more often, like daily, that’s when it starts to become a problem. I’m not going to start rambling off effects and percentages of what a lot of screen time could do to children because there’s just too much information out there. If you are interested in reading about the effects of screen time, I would only read what’s on the American Academy of Pediatrics website, as just like with any other topic, the internet is full of false information.
5. Make time for your kids. Before I get into this one, I want you to know that it’s perfectly OK to have a date night or have a girls night out once in a while. However, there’s a big difference between that and handing off your kids every chance you get and saying yes every time someone invites you somewhere. You have to learn to say no to some invitations and let that FOMO (fear of missing out) go. I know it can be tough when all your friends are headed out to a concert and they’re begging you to go, but your children need you much more than your probably-drunk friends do. It’s up to you to find the fine line between going out too much and not going out at all. But both sides aren’t good for your child(ren), which brings me to my next topic…
6. Make time for yourself, AND for your spouse. Making time for yourself and for your spouse is just as important as making time for your kids. In order to be a good mother (or father), you need to be in the best state of mind, and to achieve this, you need time away from both your kids and your spouse once in a while. And to maintain a solid relationship with your spouse, you need to be going on date nights and getting away from the kids with each other. At least once a month you and your spouse should be having some type of time alone together. If you have been a parent for a little while, you most likely know what raising children can do to your mental health and relationships. We’re never going to be perfectly stable, but we can at least make it a better experience for everyone around.
Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!