Why is it that so much guilt comes with parenthood? It seems like no matter what we do, there can be a tendency to feel that there’s always something more we should’ve done. Even though we’re exhausted and trying to provide the best and healthiest lives for our kiddos, we often feel we’re coming up short. Simply put; feeling this way usually just means you’re striving to be the best parent you can be.
For those of us who aren’t normally overachievers, all of a sudden parenthood seems to lunge us into this constant uphill battle with ourselves to be the perfect parent. Why is it never enough? How can we stop struggling and be satisfied with just doing our best? When will we accept that we’re doing the best we can and the kids are fine. Here are a few key points I encourage my clients with children to remember…
Step 1: Relinquish control. Accept that we’re never actually in control! Being mindful about letting go and stop trying to meet your expectations. When you’re finally on time, you’ve got the car packed, the kids all ready and set to go to the park and it starts to rain right as you’re walking out… remember that rain happens. Be ok with letting go of your plan. Doing so will ultimately ease your stress, your guilt and help you go with the flow. By doing this, you allow yourself the opportunity to:
Step 2: Focus on the Positive. Maybe the fact that our park day plans got rained on means we can now sit around playing duck duck goose at home which the kids love just as much. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be boring. It can be made into an adventure just by choosing the cart that has the car attached or zooming around singing and making train noises. Now you’re doing groceries, you’re on a make believe adventure! Seriously, they can be so easy to please… They’re beautifully uncomplicated at times.
“You shouldn’t let perfection get in the way of good enough” – Casey Neistat
Step 4: Sometimes its ok to leave it for tomorrow but make sure you still enjoy today! If the plans you had for today fell through due to a schedule conflict, rain, sickness or you just plain don’t want to, thats ok! Tomorrow’s another day. You’ve made the choice not to do XYZ so don’t mope around feeling guilty or disappointed in yourself. You’ve re-scheduled and set it up for another day so what are you choosing to do today instead? The world is your oyster. Even if it means staying in and watching a movie with the kids as an alternative adventure, do so enjoying every moment guilt free!
Step 5: Be Present. We can’t be present in a particular moment if we’re surfing social media, checking emails, or reviewing tomorrow’s agenda. We need to focus on what’s happening in the here and now. We need to stop taking our present for granted. We’ll want to cherish the memories with our children who grow so fast… but if we are not fully present and fully engaged we’re going to miss out on an awful lot.
Step 6: If you’re doing the best you can, that means you’re doing great! Shed those feelings of inadequacy and allow yourself to see yourself through your children’s eyes. There’s a reason they love us 3000.
Last but not least… and possibly the most important…
Step 7: Save the best for Now. They grow out of everything so quickly! Not just physically but mentally as well. Put on their cutest clothes before they don’t fit, cuddle a lot, and play with them as much as possible before they grow out of you! They’re only this little for so little.
OVER TO YOU:
What guilt shows up for you around your kids?
What actions can you take to help you overcome your guilt?