"Right" is completely subjective. Maybe I should say instead, "10 things I don't completely suck at as a parent." Yeah...
So this morning was just one of those mornings. The kids and I woke up later than we should have (partial blame to my husband for leaving without waking us up), we had no clean uniforms, couldn't find their shoes...In fact, one of them actually put on the WRONG uniform as today was PE day and I instead had her in a gently worn regular day uniform. They ate crackers and grapes for breakfast, their hair looked a mess, we left a folder behind, but made it to school with less than one minute to spare.
So, of course, my first reaction as I dropped off my obviously ill-prepared children to face the world in this state was "Man, I freakin suck as a parent!" Sure sounds like it huh?
Well, just then I recalled some powerful words shared with me and by me on many occasions by my fellow mom friends - "Take it easy on yourself!"
Granted, today was not a clear reflection of how wonderful I am as a parent, but not everyday is like this. There are days my kids go to school looking as pristine as ever, fully prepared for their day, well-fed, and - get this- early! So rather than beat myself up over today, which would be so easy and possibly warranted, I've decided to focus on at least 10 things I'm doing right as a parent (in no particular order).
1. I make them happy.
I could say that they are happy because I'm happy. However, even on my worst days, I am sure to take out the time to give them something to smile about. It's not a materialistic kind of happy, as I try to make sure they never look for "things" to make them happy. They never question how much I love and genuinely enjoy them. There are days I'm fortunate enough to do things like go to lunch with my daughters, or join in on a field trip, or take them on a weekend excursion. But there are also days when that opportunity is not available and I settle for sharing jokes with them, or helping them comb their doll's hair, or even do a little whip and nae nae to get them laughing (which is also great exercise). Point is, we share at the very least 1 smile per day and they enjoy happy moments with me as their parent.
2. I meet their every basic need.
My kids have nothing but First world problems. They have no idea what it feels like to not have the basic needs in life. They are fed, they are clothed, and they have more than adequate shelter. They have comfortable bunk beds to sleep on, despite the fact that they've been known to fall asleep on the stairs before. They are safe. Hell, their biggest issue in a day might be that one of their many Kindle apps shut down on them.
Sure, they had crackers and grapes this morning, but it kept them from being hungry, so BAM!
3. I show them my imperfect self
I'm certainly not perfect, nor do I show them perfection in myself. They see a mom who sometimes faces challenges, but does not let that keep her down. They see me every single day being a parent, a wife, and an entrepreneur! They've seen me tired, they've seen me angry, they've seen me sad. What they have never seen is me being defeated, hating the world, or giving up.
4. I sacrifice for them
...As do most parents, but not all. During my teen years, my mom used to (jokingly) say "you know I don't have to love you. There are plenty of parents who don't love their children." She's right. There are also plenty of parents who exclusively put their own needs before their kids' needs to the extent where they put their children in danger. My kids know without a doubt that they come before anything else in our lives, always!
5. I give them a voice
I grew up in the old school of "Children should be seen and not heard." My children will never experience that. I ask them what's on their minds, what dreams they have, what makes them happy and what upsets them. I make sure they know that we trust and believe in them and when they feel the need to speak up against something they feel is wrong, that we will support them.
6. I teach them what it means to be a family
Of course, we try and sometimes fail to eat at the table together for all meals (we get Sundays); as well as some other family activities that my husband's and my work schedules sometimes prevent us from doing. But, they've got one concept down. I always say that while my daughters sometimes fight with each other, they always fight for each other too. I teach them to understand that no matter what, we are a family and a family loves, respects and protects each other at all times.
7. I show them how to treat others
Ugh! I can't tell you how many settings I've been to where I see parents act blatantly rude to people like waiters, maids, or the elderly or handicapped, or other races, or just other humans in general. It's bad enough to that you wish to live your life as a despicable human being, but to do it in front of your children? Shame on you!
8. I shield them from negative people
Now, that's not to say that they don't come across these people in their day to day lives at school and what not, but I make it a point for these people to not be in their immediate circle of influence, even if they're my friends. I can't change adults, but the interaction my daughters have with those friends is limited and monitored.
9. I allow them to fail
They are not going to be the very best at everything they do. They will make mistakes. They will have several failures. I will help them learn from them. But what I won't do is to have them fear trying something because they are too afraid to fail.
10. I teach them to love themselves
A while back, I overheard the following bedtime prayer or shall I say "talk with God": "Dear God. I love my family, I love my friends, I love my teachers, and I love myself." Sure, we had a ways to go with the logistics of "prayer," but nothing made me feel more at peace than hearing my daughter say that. I know there will come a time where she hates her hair, or her nose, or her legs, or whatever, but as of right now, she loves herself.
I show both my girls that I love myself. I don't put myself down around them. They see me work out constantly, but they don't hear my body image gripes. They see me struggle some days, but aren't privy to my "woe is me" rants. We show them that they are beyond worthy of our love and God's love and therefore, they deserve to love themselves.
I know that as they grow older, this list of things I do right as a parent will grow, shrink or change form, but parenting is a journey. I have to continue to celebrate the small milestones and build upon them. I pray every day that these things will be enough to raise phenomenal, well-adjusted, happy human beings. If not...I'll just blame it on their dad. :-)
Originally posted at http://www.lovepeaceandtinyfeet.com/10-things-im-doing-right-as-a-parent/
Ari Adams is a "Chiro-wife," mom of 2 amazing daughters, blogger, and author. She’s the lady behind the blog, Love, Peace,and Tiny Feet, where she shares the memorable and sometimes crazy experiences of balancing parenthood, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and finding love and peace in imperfection. You can keep in touch with her on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
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