Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we aren’t good enough parents. There are so many demands on us, so many things pulling at our time and energy, that we may feel bad for not spending enough time with our kids, or ‘being’ enough for them. But know that there is only one YOU for your child, and that you’re doing your best, and that is just fine.
Here are some areas to tweak, along with all of us parents out there, doing the best we can:
Quit being so highly strung about diet and health. Sometimes ice cream for breakfast or after school, will make you the funnest parent of all time. While rules and routine are necessary and healthy for kids, sometimes taking a break from all that and doing something spontaneous is really fun for kids. In my home, I have been so hellbent on keeping routine reinforced, that my son recently came to me and said he is tired of doing everything right all the time, can’t we do something wrong? My daughter asked me in the car yesterday why I’m so mad every morning. Really? From my side, I don’t FEEL mad every morning, but from her five year old perspective, she sees her mom rushing three kids out the door every morning and views that as ‘mad’. Which makes me far too serious for a young child. So .. ice cream randomly is good for them!
Guide & Train Your Kids
Training children from young can be one of the most rewarding things later on. Setting up chore charts and patiently training each child to manage his/her own responsibilities teaches them to take care of their possessions, teaches self discipline and self control. As they get older, it’s a pleasure to see each child in your family become more responsible with their own things, as well as more responsible around the home. You’ll start to feel like more of a team player than crazy, burnt out mom juggling everyone and everything.
Keep life fun
In-between the daily school runs, dinner making, bath time and everything else that must be done, try and keep life light and fun. Kids aren’t aware of the adult pressures we have – financially, relationally, etc. They like painting and soccer and flowers and bunnies. Keep that in mind when you fetch them after school irritated by your ex, stressed about finances or tired after a long day at work. Try and see the day from their perspective and keep that focus on the small, awesome things.
Tweak those boundaries
Research has shown that boundaries, especially for boys, are necessary and vital. A child gets a sense of security and purpose when you set understandable and achievable boundaries in place in your home. The firmness and set schedule is actually really good for a child, although it may feel rigid and tight and no-fun some days. You can keep it age-appropriate and as fun as you can.
Related: When Young Children Push Boundaries
Be attentive & Load on the attention
Especially if your child’s love language is words of affirmation and time, he/she will thrive on your spending time with them. Generally though, all kids love your attentiveness – noticing the daily little things they say and do, taking the time to sit and check their homework and help them, checking their art and making a fuss over it, etc. It can be easy to overlook so many little things a child says and does in the busyness of the day, especially if there are a few children in your home.
Delight in your kids
In the busyness and stress of life, take time to remember that children are a blessing and a delight. Recall how excited you were when you found out you were pregnant, or when they were born, their first steps and first moments trying new things. Delight in who they are becoming and in who they are now. The time will pass all too fast. Give them the message in small ways that you deal with them each day, that they are a delight to you and in your life. Regardless of all the stresses and busyness in life, be sure to let them know that they are loved and enough, and that you delight in them!
Cut yourself some slack, give yourself some credit and keep on being the best parent you can be. In the end, your child will become an adult, with good memories about their childhood and you, regardless of how crazy life may feel sometimes!