As parents we all know that it’s easy to feel Mom/Dad guilt.. Every second of every day, for just about absolutely everything and anything possible! Sometimes though it feels all encompassing and it’s hard to get your head around anything else. There’s something you’ve forgotten to do. You feel like you’re not making the most of your time with them quite as much as you should do. Time is passing you by so quickly and you just feel like something is missing.
You are an amazing parent. The fact that you’re reading this proves it. However, if you’d like reassurance or ways to try improve on what you already have/the parent you are fear not. Read this post to find out how to be a great parent in seven easy ways!
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1. Don’t forget yourself!
Once we have children we of course put them first, all the time. It’s so easy to put ourselves on the back burner so much so, that we forget ourselves entirely! Personal hygiene becomes just another countless chore that needs ‘fitting in somewhere’. Usually we’ll be sporting a greasy mop and probably whiff a little sometimes, too. This is especially the case when the children are of a younger age and require pretty much constant supervision. Self care of any kind is out of the window..
As is doing anything to relax. What even is relaxing? It has to be a myth, right? The thing is you need to look after yourself, Mommy and Daddy! You need some kind of time to relax and you need to keep checking in on your mental health also. Children aren’t daft. If something isn’t right they can sense it, or they find you crying when you think they’re not around. Not only that but if you’re not happy your patience is likely to wear a little thin, shouty Mommy/Daddy is much more probable! Never what any of us want, right? Happy parents have happy kids!
2. Spend quality time with them.
Children don’t care about thank you notes for gifts, cupcakes for the School bake sale, if your home is spotless or their socks match their outfit. They want your attention, validation and love!
As a child I never cared about having a gift from my Dad – which is a good thing since I can count on one hand how many gifts I’ve had from him. What I wanted was just him! On my Birthday I wanted to know that he remembered me. That he wanted me to have a lovely day. All I ever wished for even when I were as young as I can remember, was for my Daddy to come and see me. Or even to pick up the phone and wish me Happy Birthday.
You don’t need all the riches in the world to lavish them in gifts or take them to special places. Use the time and what’s readily available to your advantage, playing with them with their toys is good enough! Read a book together. Get snuggled up on the sofa for a film night. Create a fort somewhere in the house!
3. Listen to and understand them.
How do we expect our little ones to learn effective communication skills or how to explore and process their emotions if we don’t first show them how? Or give them a safe ear to share their troubles with? It’s really no shock that mental health diagnoses are continuing to increase when nobody is listening to their offspring and truly engaging with them. Contrary to what some may have you believe – children are not exempt. There are actually 1 in 10 children aged between the years of 5 and 16 who have a diagnosable mental health illness (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41125009).
Enjoy listening to their stories. Teach them things. Ask them questions. Just learn about the amazing little human/s you’ve created. I promise you, you’ll never use that time for anything better. Try to understand them. Think back to when you were a child, what you felt like in certain situations. Even read up about child psychology if you want to! I’ve been pinning some bits and bats I’d like to get round to reading at some point. Feel free to check out my parenting board on Pinterest, hopefully there will be something of interest.
4. Let them be children.
Time ticks by so darn fast, children are only little for a disturbingly short while. Please don’t push them to grow up before their time by selling off all their toys before they’re ready or encouraging them to have interests and hobbies beyond their years. Research actually shows that we learn better through play, especially young minds, yet all of us, even us adults, need to play. It keeps us happy and feeling youthful, it makes life fun! So please, let them play for as long as they like, encourage their need for fun.
Keep in mind too that they are only children, encouraging them to achieve and learn new things is amazing but be weary that pushing them too much can be detrimental in the long run. It could put them off from doing any of these extra curricular activities you’re pushing them into engaging it. They may come to believe their worth is measured based on how many plates they have spinning at once. If they’re spinning only a few or none, surely that must mean they’re worthless? What we should all want the most for them is happiness, no matter what. The rest is just fluff. If you’d like to learn more about learning through play in particular then a few theorists worth looking into would be Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori.
5. Think before you speak and never compare!
How do you feel when you get compared to somebody else? I’d guess it would be something along the lines of that you’re pretty worthless and the person you’re being compared to is somehow better, right? Does it make you feel unloved, unwanted and generally rejected?
When you compare your child to somebody else it’s inviting your darling to do the exact same thing to themselves, at any point throughout their life, and it can be extremely damaging. It’s a million times worse if you’ve talked down about that particular person before. Commenting that “You’re so like your Dad.” when all you can ever say about him is how useless and good for nothing he is, is just telling your own child that he or she is the same as that!
We very rarely think about the qualities you’ve spoke of that same person having, our brains typically tend to cling onto the negatives in any situation. The more we exercise that trait the more it sticks and knocks on to every other area within our life.
Attempt to think carefully before you speak, you could simply be meaning that your child looks like their father rather than comparing personalities, but by not verbalising that could create a huge hiccup! Of course, even stating they look like their father, if he’s always the bad guy, may be enough to make your child feel uncomfortable, any similarity could prove detrimental. Only compare them to themselves, though there’s really not even the need for that when you think about it.
6. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
Humans often make promises and a lot of the time it’s promises of which the person actually has absolutely no control over what so ever. Uh, bad idea. If you can’t with an 100% certainty know that you can keep that promise then don’t make it to begin with. We shouldn’t do this with anyone but especially not our youngsters, it’s only teaching them to do the same, which of course makes them come across as either liars or simply turns them into let downs.Lets lead by example and raise our children to be reliable. Promises only ever lead to disappointment when they’re broken. Click To Tweet
What I most remember as a child about my Dad, is that he’d always tell me “I’ll be back soon, I’ll be back in an hour or two I promise. I’ll be back before you go to bed.” or that “I’ll still be here in the morning.” he’d never come good on those promises, not unless around three years is the new two hours.
We need to start being the type of people we’d be happy for our children to date when they’re older. If you wouldn’t want your child dating someone like you then you’ve changes to be made, because they’ll think that whatever kind of treatment we give to them is what they’re worthy of. They’ll then in turn look for someone ‘like Mom’ or ‘like Dad’. The phrases aren’t there for the mad laugh.
Do you want your children to be consistently let down? Additional personal fact – as it stands currently I’ve neither seen nor heard from my father in around four years. He’s not met my daughter, his only Grandchild, nor did he get in contact with me at all during my pregnancy or afterwards to congratulate me. Yet he’s the same man who would be back in an hour. Thanks, Dad.
7. Consistency is key!
Talking of consistency, we need to be consistent for our kiddos with regards to absolutely everything. If you usually say they can’t have a tonne of chocolate before tea but you suddenly give in as soon as they throw themselves down on the floor in aisle 6, well, you may have a problem.
Children need to learn behaviours and they need to learn about what’s expected. If you’re saying one thing one minute and something completely different the next, telling them off for something once then the next time they do it they’re getting a reward – well how will they know how they’re expected to behave? Create routines. Find a way that works for your family when it comes to discipline. Remember when someone tries bend the rules that it’s your family and your kids, not Janet’s from two doors down. So no.. She can’t give your child a chocolate right before tea, no matter what, because that isn’t what you would do.
You do you, Moms and Dad’s! On a little heavier note, if you want to be a parent to your child then do so and stop at nothing to do just that, and to be in their lives. On the other hand if you have no interest in that child then do them a favour and walk away, but own that decision.. Don’t come walking back to them after a few months only to flake out again, on repeat. How can part time parent ever be a good thing? Remember consistency is key!
So you see, you’re doing just fine. If you feel like you need to or would like to talk to somebody else feeling the same way as you then please do reach out to me. I’m easy enough to find across my social media profiles.
Do you have anything to add to this post? What do you feel the most parental guilt for or do you need any additional help with anything? Pop me a message and lets chat! Share this post on social media if you feel somebody else could benefit from it!