How to Be a Better Parent In 3 Easy Steps
Of course we all want to be the best we can be for our children. We’ve had to learn the hard way that parenting doesn’t come with a manual – just an endless array of parenting books that all contradict each other.
It’s so easy to look around and feel a little “less than.” Am I doing enough for my kids? Am I a good enough parent?” I’m here to tell you that YES! You absolutely are. And to be even better, you can follow my three easy steps.
#1 Stop Reading Articles That List Ways to Be a Better Parent.
Just don’t do it. Don’t click the link. I’m not usually one to promote abstinence because let’s face it, that’s just unrealistic. But in this case, I’m going to recommend it. And if you absolutely can’t resist, let it be only to mock suggestions like, “Shower your children with words of grace” or to draw moustaches and inappropriate thought bubbles on the parents in the accompanying photos, like, “My coffee cup is actually filled with vodka.”
You got this. And I’m pretty sure you can find enough other ways to feel inferior then reading these lists.
Seriously though let this be the last one you read. You got this. And I’m pretty sure you can find enough other ways to feel inferior then reading these lists. Don’t be fooled by the ones with free charts, tools and printables either. Our parents never had these lists. And look, we turned out semi-normal with minimal trauma. But since you’re already reading this one, I will play along and give you what you came here for.
#2 Spend Time Away From Your Kids
Yes, I know they’re the most adorable children in the history of children and no one else can take care of them as well as you, but seriously, do you want to retain any sanity over the next eighteen years? Hand those demanding little angels over to someone else. I know it’s easier said than done. Sometimes you have to get creative and put an ad up on Craigslist or something. (Just kidding. Don’t actually do that.)
Maybe you have anxiety about leaving your children with someone else and that is no joke. In that case, I really encourage you to reach out for support to help you find a balance you are comfortable with that still allows you some time to yourself.
Maybe you’re in a situation where there just isn’t anyone to give you a break. In that case, I will hug you and urge you to make the best use of your down-time when little ones are sleeping and do things for yourself that make you feel like more than just a parent. These are the things that remind you of who you were before you were always on call to a tiny human who never stopped making constant demands on all of your time and every last ounce of your energy. What are the things you enjoyed when you had a life that didn’t revolve around naps and poop? Whatever they are, do more of them. And don’t you dare feel bad about it either. Know that you actually will be a better parent when you are taking care of your own needs too.
#3 Tell Yourself To Shut the Hell Up
Wait, that didn’t come out right. OK you know when that negative dialogue starts playing in your head? It might be triggered by seeing another parent taking the time to get down to his child’s level, make eye contact and speak calmly after you just completely lost your shit on your child in the car. The dialogue is slightly different for everyone but with a common theme that you’re a crappy parent and everyone else is doing better than you and you’re totally messing up your kids.
When these inevitably start playing on repeat in your head you tell them to shut the f*#k up! Their guilt game is strong but guess what? They’re not the ones who actually have to deal with the reality of parenting through epic tantrums and bold faced rudeness while running on minimal sleep and not nearly enough caffeine. Sure, there are lots of times that you can handle these situations calmly and effectively and for that, give yourself a fist bump and an extra large chocolate bar that you don’t share with the kids.
And when it’s not those times, (because it just can’t always be) and you set an example in “How Not to Handle This Situation”, you take a deep breath, give your child a hug and remember that you’re only human and you will try to do better next time. Still give yourself another fist bump though, because it looks really cool and people don’t give themselves fist bumps often enough.
What can you add to this list for other parents?