When I originally slated this post into my schedule, I was planning to talk about helping your kids reach their goals. It seemed like such a great idea. Honestly, it probably is but as I’m at the stage of parenting where I’m convincing my oldest that using the toilet all the time should be her goal (with limited success) I am going to switch gears a little.
We are living in a time where parenting is more intense than it’s ever been in the course of human history. Families are smaller, so in theory, parents have more time to dedicate to each child. But, we arguably have less time because it is often necessary for both parents to work. As I’ve discussed before, being a working parent is a new thing for me (although a dear friend kindly pointed out that this is definitely a racial thing. My sisters-of-color have had their mothers work outside the home for generations) and I’m faced with making some decisions about the kind of parent I want to be.
There are a few areas where I’ve looked to my lived experience and decided that I want to do the opposite. My mom struggled with depression for ten years before getting help, that translated to ages 5 to 15 for me. I am grateful to live in a time where we can discuss this more openly because I refuse to allow a mental illness to dictate the kind of parent I am. The kind of parent I strive to be is on that values my own mental health. I think many of us, regardless of whether mental illness is the culprit or not, can appreciate how exhausting it can be to have a different version of our parents from minute to minute. My kids don’t deserve that.
There are also areas of my life where I’ve looked to my lived experience and decide to adopt a mantra. For example, one of my aunts decided early in her parenting career that when it came to the house “any job worth doing is worth doing badly.” I have to admit that adopting that mantra has helped to save my, and my spouses, sanity. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
As a parent, I’ve also had to accept my own introverted nature. I do my best to play with my girls, but it is exhausting and that is okay. I am present as much as I can be, but it’s okay to cut myself some slack.
Ultimately, my goal as a parent is to do the best I can, accept that sometimes my best isn’t particularly good, and show my children that self-care makes me a better parent.