Thriving as a Parent Under Any Circumstances
Grit and resilience are qualities we want to cultivate in our children, but what about us as parents? Now seems like the perfect time to chat about some ways to cultivate these qualities in ourselves under any circumstances.
- Don't worry about what you can't control. Parenting, even in the best circumstances, can be overwhelming. As a parent, hopefully by now you have a few mindfulness exercises you can use to manage this feeling. You can control yourself. You can control your attitude, your actions and reactions, and your words. Try as we all might, we can't control our children. We can, however, lead by example.
- Know better, do better. Every day you have thousands of opportunities to extend grace to yourself and the people you live with. You don't have to be perfect. You won't ever be perfect! But you can do a little better each day. Two steps forward, one step back ... is still forward progress. If you can make a deliberate choice to have more good in your day than bad, you can do anything.
- Nothing lasts forever. When you're facing something uncomfortable or the shame of losing your cool, it can seem like the feeling will last forever. You can endure this! The only constant in life is change. Feelings rise and fall like the sun, and pass away to give us a clean start in a new day. Acknowledge your big emotions. Name them. Do what you need to do, and let them pass. Take parenting, with all of its challenges, one day at a time.
- Self-care is not selfish. Did everything go wrong today? Do you feel like you just can't be at your best? It's alright. Extend forgiveness to yourself and then figure out what you need to be better supported. Do you need more time outside in nature? More sleep? To connect with friends? Less news? To get off of Facebook? Or maybe you need to speak to yourself the way your best friend would talk to you. Encourage yourself!
- Go with the flow. If parenting is anything, it's full of the unexpected. This isn't to say that you shouldn't have a schedule or a plan - quite the opposite! But on those days when the kids are cranky and nothing is going the way you want it to, it's okay to start over. Breathe deeply. Calm yourself (and your child, if necessary). Figure out how your child needs you to connect with them. Begin again.
- How are you feeling? Social media is not how you should be spending your time if it makes you feel less-than. Perfectly styled images that set unrealistic expectations for your own journey don't build you up. Instead, focus on your family. How are your days going? What's working well? What can you do better? Focus on how connected you are to each other, as opposed to how life looks, and see how your mindset changes.
Parenting allows us to learn many new things about ourselves and how we can be at our best. It can even make us emotionally stronger and more mentally fit if we give ourselves grace and work hard to try to get a little better every day. Hopefully the choices we make now will mean that our children will look back on their time as kids with us, and understand why their family is still so close - and what rock star parents they have.
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