Parents, I have a secret to share with you. Are you ready?
There is no such thing as perfect parenting.
I’m serious. You may not think you are aiming for perfection in parenting, but how many times have you yelled at your child and then vowed, “I will never do that again”? Or how often do you spend Sunday night telling yourself you are going to be on time to every event, game, and practice that week? You are going to make your child’s lunch every day?
These are all attempts at perfection, and ultimately, when you set yourself up to be perfect, you will fail.
Perfection is the enemy of good parenting. If your goal is perfection you will inevitably give up. This year, as you set your New Year’s resolutions, I suggest getting rid of anything that is setting you up for failure. Instead, set resolutions that leave room for grace and growth. This way you don’t look back at 2019 and feel you have failed as a parent.
Perfection is the enemy of good parenting.
Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that will leave you feeling empowered as a parent–and as a person–this year.
Don’t let mistakes trip you up.
We parents have a great talent for lingering on mistakes we’ve made with our kids. And the truth is, we’ve ALL made mistakes as parents, and we’ve probably made the most (and largest) ones with our first-born or with the child who most reminds us of ourselves. It’s very important to go and apologize to your kids when you’ve screwed up, but it’s equally important to forgive yourself.
We can be our own worst enemy with that condescending or shaming voice in our head that says we “should have done better.” We feel responsible for everything our kids do or don’t do. I’ve said it many times before, kids love to forgive and they are okay with you messing up. We cannot let our mistakes hold us back. Get over that old hurdle and leave it behind you.
It’s very important to go and apologize to your kids when you’ve screwed up, but it’s equally important to forgive yourself.
Focus on getting the big stuff right in parenting.
Oh, how we love to get caught up in the details as parents! Should I feed them this, should they have a cell phone at this age, should we discipline for this, should our kids be allowed to do that, etc.
Truthfully, what really shapes who and what our kids become are the big things that we do. And believe it or not, those big things come in day-to-day life. For example, dad takes his son out to the backyard to play ball, mom takes the kids for ice cream, mom and dad are both present with the kids at the dinner table and everyone talks.
The best part of your parenting comes when you get the big stuff right. Show them that they are really loved. That’s what will change your child.
These may not feel that grand to you as adults, but to kids, these little things become big foundational moments for them. The best part of your parenting comes when you get the big stuff right. Show them that they are really loved. That’s what will change your child.
Give yourself some kindness.
We try so often to be kind and giving to other people, but a lot of times we never extend kindness to ourselves. Every single parent wants so much to be “better”. The truth of the matter is, you’re already better. You’re already great. You’re just not willing to show yourself some kindness. This year, instead of blaming yourself at the end of each day, focus on what you did and what you did well. This will show you -you’re doing much better than you think you are.
I will say it again. Perfection is the enemy of parenting. Let 2019 be the year you ditch the “p” word. Focus on the big things, be kind and gracious to yourself. A parent who loves herself will raise a child who loves herself too.