In one misstep the day can go from great to “oh man, my kids are going to need therapy,” or more commonly, I’m not doing enough _____ for them.
If you’re anything like me as a parent (single or partnered), there are times I worry that I’m not doing a good enough job with my kids. Especially after a rough day, or when I feel like I’m not parenting the right way. (Side note: There is no “right” way.)
I’m not a ball of worry like I used to be, but it is a thought that still finds a way into my mind.
Take this past week; even though I work from home and am accessible to my kids, I was neck deep in work and instead of stopping to listen to what they were telling me, I told them I was working and we can talk during dinner. Dinner came and I was still working. Bedtime came and I was still working. I had officially blown the moment to fully engage with my kids.
While it’s easy to be preoccupied with how much I messed up in that moment, it’s more important to remember that this isn’t a constant reality. We do have meaningful conversations, laughter and time together. I do put work away in order to connect with them and have the ever-coveted work-life balance.
I have to remind myself that I’m human and I’m going to mess up. From what I read online, I’m not alone.
The thing I have been practicing when I feel this way lately is taking a pause. Reminding myself that this moment doesn’t define the whole day allows me to reframe the situation in a more positive light. I have the ability to restart my day, anytime. In restarting my day and extending myself some grace, I’ve effectively learned how to stop picking up the bat to beat myself up. Not that I’m perfect at it, but I’m getting better at it.
Yeah, we have to stop beating ourselves up.
Need some encouragement?
Here’s my three suggestions for remembering that you are doing a great job, you fantastic parent:
- Remind yourself.
Be your biggest cheerleader! You rocked out being a taxi to after-school activities, made dinner happen (even if it was cereal… again), AND worked a 40+-hour work week? Shoot, you deserve an award. The small things add up. You are there for them. You are showing up for them. You are constantly doing your very best the best way you know how, for them. YOU, my friend, are a Rockstar.
- Ask your kids.
Well, maybe not straight up ask them. When you’re having one of those really awesome parent-child moments, bring it up in a way that creates a positive conversation. A good starter that was suggested to me was, “What I love most about you is ____” and fill in the blank. Take turns. Sure, I thought it sounded hokey, too, but try it out. It was the biggest perspective shift to hear how they view me. Trust me, from your kids’ eyes, you are killin’ I, even if they tell you otherwise. Kids are brutally honest (sometimes) but if they’re telling you otherwise, it means you’re doing a good job because they feel comfortable enough with you to open up.
- Talk to someone.
Friends, family, a therapist, someone you trust. I get it, vulnerability is scary, but from my experience, when I share vulnerably with someone I trust it’s met with compassion, empathy and love. I was raised to be strong all the time and never show weakness so opening up was a challenge at first. With time and practice, I’ve learned that sharing vulnerably is a strength. When I share exactly where I am and how I’m feeling with someone, I receive so much more than words of encouragement. A way to live in the solution and move forward.
If you haven’t heard it lately, you are enough and you’re doing a GREAT job. Yes, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Until next time, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line on the socials or head over to www.singleparentsproject.com and shoot me a message to tell me what works for you!