There is no book or class out there to prepare you for the adventures you endure as a parent. One thing I learned for sure is that being a mom is the hardest and best thing I’ve ever experienced. Here are some other things I learned along the way…
Guilt is a useless emotion: There’s so much guilt when it comes to parenting these days. Whether you work outside the home or you are a full time parent it comes with a lot of guilt-ridden emotions. The working moms feel guilt because their child is in childcare all day while the stay at home mom feels guilt for wanting to have lunch on her own, or for wanting to listen to anything but the “Frozen” sound track in the car. Fortunately there is good news. The choice is ours as to whether we are going to carry the guilt or let it go. So the very fact that one feels guilty…in fact means that they really have nothing to be guilty about at all. We do the best we can and instead of wallowing in the guilt, maybe we should just accept it and embrace it as part of the parenting package.
Let them make mistakes: No one wants to see their kids struggle, but it is in overcoming those struggles that many of their best life lessons are learned. As a parent it can be almost instinctual to want to smooth the way. Instead of doing something for your child, be the first to encourage her to try to for herself, help her find strategies to solve her own problems or find answers to her own questions. If it’s problems with friends or school, help her find solutions. And don’t try to make her school experience perfect. School is not only for learning about math and reading and science, but it is also about learning how to navigate the world.
Toughen up and don’t be a sissy: One day your child will shout that he hates you. Although you logically know this isn’t true, it will cut you to your core. Take solace in the fact that this means you are doing your job right. You aren’t your child’s friend. You are their parent. You probably hate you too, sometimes.
Don’t sweat the small stuff – really: The laundry is overflowing and you haven’t seen the bottom of the basket since you bought it. Your children’s normally well balanced diet won’t be shot to hell because they had a single day of nothing but chicken nuggets and juice. TV won’t really turn their brains to mush if they watch too much once in a while, and nobody but maybe your mother-in-law will give a damn how clean your floors are. These are just some of the little things we let ourselves get so stressed out over. No one ever died or grew up to become a mass murderer because of a messy house, or wearing the same clothes twice, so it’s time to just LET. IT. GO.
Take time for yourself: While most of your days are filled with caring for others, making sure homework gets done and the lunches are made and everything that comes with having kids, you may find that you have very little time to do anything for yourself. Taking time for yourself is beneficial not only for your own sanity but it makes you a better parent. You don’t need to make this a daylong spa trip (although that would be nice, who are we kidding), but even if it’s for a quick trip to the grocery store by myself, it gives you time to unwind and recharge.