In 1994, Congress declared the fourth Sunday of July National Parents’ Day.
According to the Parents’ Day website, this day was established in order to “recognize outstanding parents, celebrate the teamwork in raising children, and support the role of parental guidance in building a strong, stable society.”
Each year, citizens can submit nominations for parents they feel deserve to be recognized on this day as Parents of the Year. Past recipients include incredible parents, such as Lowell and America Callahan, who have seven biological children and foster children with special needs; Rev. Lee and Minister Stasia Goodwin, who have three children and run a ministry in teaching and counseling; and Dr. Zulfiqar and Mrs. Tanvir Kazmi, who have two children and work alongside the United Nations to promote peacebuilding worldwide.
These parents have some serious credentials and are certainly deserving of the recognition they’ve received, but I believe all parents deserve to be recognized and awarded for the work they do day in and day out.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. So, for all parents out there who are anxious, losing sleep and hoping each day that they’re doing right, congratulations! I may not have the official authority to award you the national prize, but I do consider all of you Parents of the Year.
Before you roll your eyes or click away from this page, know that I say this as a mother of four and as a pediatrician who has been practicing for over 30 years.
You may not think you deserve to be named Parent of the Year, but I know you deserve it because I know that you are already wired with everything you need to be a parent to a great kid.
Because of this, today I want to encourage you to do two simple things…
- Trust your instincts.
Many parents, especially new parents, have difficulty doing this, but the truth is, your instincts are there for a reason. They may stem from the way you were trained to think and believe, but 99 percent of the time they protect you, and you need to listen to them. One of my biggest frustrations in working with conscientious parents is their fear of listening to what their instinct tells them to do when it comes to parenting. Stop parenting out of fear and trust what your gut is saying. I’ll say it again: you have been hardwired with everything you need to be a great parent. Trust the voice inside of you.
- Be courageous enough to live differently from your peers.
Today, social media is trying to teach you how to parent, what is best for your child and what is best for you. Because of what I said above about your instincts, you don’t have to listen to the millions of voices out there shaming you into parenting a certain way or telling you you have to be a working mom, or you have to be a stay at home mom, etc. Don’t let the internet tell you what is best for your family. If you do, you will find yourself lost in different opinions and losing your own voice. What your kid needs first and foremost is you. Don’t let yourself get lost in the noise.
Celebrate your accomplishments as a parent today. Instead of running through everything you did wrong, think about all of the things you are doing right. Think about how your child looks at you when you walk into the room. Your child loves you. Maybe you could love yourself too.