Sometimes as I try to go to sleep at night, I tell myself off for being too grumpy, too yelly, too distracted by the housework or too busy during the day. I have this ideal parent that I want to be. I want to be the fun Mum, but I really can’t allow jumping on the bed. Then I want to be the ‘yes’ Mum, but I can’t let my 4 year old wear a t-shirt and shorts in the middle of winter. I want to be the Mum who doesn’t nag or get grumpy, but then 5 minutes before we are due to leave the house someone is sitting on the couch wearing knickers and one sock (that someone isn’t me by the way!)
You will have an idea in mind of the parent you want to be, but it can be so hard to live up to that ideal! Sometimes, accepting the small faults we have can help us on the journey to becoming the type of parent we want to be.
You need to know in your mind the kind of parent that you want to be. If you do not know this, how do you know what to goal for?
If we don’t have clarity on the kind of parent we want to be then we can fall into traps. We can do what is familiar, be exactly like our own parents as that is the only way we know. This may or may not be a bad thing. You may have had great parents, or you may not have. You may also find yourself imitating a friend’s parenting style, or doing what you think is expected of you. Neither of these styles may fit with your personality, so your parenting will be inconsistent.
Find what works for you and your family. Do you like it? Is it safe and is everyone happy? Then run with it. Regardless of what anyone else says. Just make sure that your ideal is possible, be realistic with yourself.
The Grass is Not Greener
Looking at someone else’s family is exactly that, looking in from the outside. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. You may think that this family has it all together. But this is just the public projection that you are looking at.
Do not be envious. Envy is dangerous as it can keep you focused on what others have. If you are too focused on what others have, then you cannot appreciate your own bliss.
We are all going to have bad days. There will be times when you are in a grump and your kids will bare the brunt of it. That’s alright. The important thing is communicating about it. Tell your kids that you are not in a good mood. If you feel you have been unreasonable, it’s alright to admit that. The best thing you can do is explain what happened to your children and apologise. Then it can be a great learning opportunity for everyone. Your kids will learn that it is alright to make a mistake and that they can be fixed.
If you are feeling angry all of the time, more than the odd instance here and there, then it is time to ask for help. Speak with a trusted friend or family member, or contact your doctor.
This is one of those golden parenting rules. Be as consistent as you can with boundaries and rules. Try to stick to a particular bedtime routine, have rules for how to behave in public, how to eat, how to treat others. There will always be exceptions, but our children learn best from consistency. How can they behave in the manner that we want if we do not give them clear guidance?
Do not be afraid of change. If something is holding you back from being the parent you want to be then assess it. Can you change it? Can you take small steps towards changing it?
We are never going to be the perfect parent overnight. There is always something we wish we could have done better. But the sheer fact that you are worried about being a good parent means that you already are. You love your family and want to be the best version of you for them. Keep it up, you are doing great!
Are you managing to live up to the ideal you have set yourself? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.