1. It’s all going to be okay! There’s something about parenthood that causes anxiety, self-doubt and guilt to rise to the surface. Those feelings are all normal and every parent has felt them from time to time. We worry if we’re handling a situation or a stage in our child’s life the “right way.” There is no one right way to parent. Trust yourself and your instincts.
2. Relax! Sometimes I have to remind myself to just relax and enjoy this phase of my life. To stop taking life (and parenting) so seriously! Parenthood is a lifelong journey but our kids will (hopefully!) only live with us for 18 of those years so we might as well try to relax and enjoy our kids. I’m determined to stop overthinking every decision, big or small, that I make as a parent. There are so many decisions but few are as critical as we think they’ll be at the time. Which preschool should I send my daughter to? Which doctor will best help me care for our children? What after-school activities should I sign up for? Am I overscheduling my kids? Is it time to sign up for summer camp? Which camp? There are so many decisions to make that it can feel overwhelming. But, in reality, so long as your kids are fed, clothed, loved and educated, the rest of it is simply icing on the cake! Take a deep yoga breath now and put a smile on your face!
3. You’re doing a good job! Parents, and moms in particular, are so hard on themselves. We judge ourselves and each other way too harshly. That inner critic needs to be silenced or at least ignored and replaced by a kinder, gentler, more encouraging voice! You are doing the best you can and that’s good enough. It’s more than enough.
4. Love really is all that our kids need. It’s simple but true. Love creates good, responsible kids. Love fosters creativity and encourages kindness. Kids, like every other living person or thing, thrive with our unconditional love and acceptance.
5. Let it go! Straight from the lips of Idina Menzel in her hit song from the movie Frozen. There is no perfect person, perfect child, let alone perfect parent. We are all perfectly imperfect and that’s what makes us human. As we raise our kids, let’s make a pact to raise our own consciousness! To embrace ourselves and love ourselves just as we are today (not the 10 pounds lighter version of ourselves, the more organized or less stressed, more balanced version). When we’re able to let go, we tend to smile more and enjoy life and parenthood more.
“Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.” – Gary Smalley
“I just want my kids to love who they are, have happy lives and find something they want to do and make peace with that. Your job as a parent is to give your kids not only the instincts and talents to survive, but help them enjoy their lives.” – Susan Sarandon
“If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”
– Diane Loomans
“In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck – and, of course, courage.” – Bill Cosby