Order and predictability — not a great combo when you have kids.
Let's be honest - as much as parenting can be rewarding, fun and a great excuse for us adults to act like kids again ourselves, it is also exhausting, challenging and draining.
Lately, I've been more on the exhausted side of things. I'm a full-time working mom so that adds to my pile of responsibilities and there are some days that just suck the life right out of me. By the time I've worked a full 8 hours, taken care of Chickie and all her needs and fulfilled all blog/sponsor/Bluemont Media responsibilities, I'm wiped out. Let me describe it more accurately...
Do y'all remember that scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Harry’s cousin Dudley Dursley and he were trapped in a tunnel by Dementors and one of the Dementors starting sucking the life right out of Dudley through his face? Yep, that's been me lately.
To add to my stress and load, I'm one of those kinds of people who have to maintain control over everything. I like things done a certain way and some days it takes everything I have to let my OCD go and let Chickie make a total mess of things, all in an effort to let her just "be" a young child and explore her surroundings and world around her. I like order. I like predictability (to a point) and I like the comfort of routines.
Not always a great combination when you have children.
Lately, I've come to realize that in order to get a little more balance and peace in my life I need to give up some things. Parenting can be challenging and I think sometimes we get caught up in the day to day chaos that we forget to stop and be happy in the midst of it all.
So in an effort to gain a little more peace and balance, I’m simply giving up these things:
1. The idea of perfect.
It's never going to happen, my friends and I admit that many times, I've fallen into the "Everything has to be perfect" trap. There is no such thing as the perfect person let alone the perfect parent. Embrace the fact that we're entitled to go days without make-up. Laugh at yourselves. Stop comparing yourself to the picture perfect images you see on Pinterest.
Side note: as much as I love Pinterest, I have noticed the phenomenon of Pinterest Pressure. It's not worth it, guys and gals. Be who YOU are. Not what some pin says you should be.
2. “Supposed to be"
Society (and Pinterest) has a funny way of dictating to us what family life and parenting is "supposed to be.” We're conditioned from an early age to believe that parenting and childhood is supposed to look a certain way. I say - not true.
We are all different so it stands to reason that our backgrounds and beliefs are going to be different. There is no one "right" way to raise your children and no one should ever guilt you into feeling that the way you're parenting is wrong. Only you know your child and what is best for them.
Besides, if you're always so consumed on what you think parenting is "supposed to be" you stand the chance of missing out on how wonderful it really is. Be willing to have the honest conversation with yourself about what your priorities are as a parent.
3. Give up the "One size fits all" rules of parenting.
Just as each parent is unique, so is each child. What works for one may not work for all. It's great to get input, suggestions and advice from other parents but at the end of the day, you have to make the right choices for your children based on who they are - not on everyone else's experiences.
This also means having the guts and courage to parent the way you believe and to stand by those ideals even when they may not be so popular or well-received. Consider the possibility that being a fair parent to your child doesn't mean doing the exact same thing in the exact same way as everyone else. Trust yourself and your ability to be the best parent possible to your child.
4. Give up unhealthy self-sacrifice.
As parents, we give everything we have to our children: love, attention, emotion, and time - literally everything. But just because we become parents doesn't mean that we should give up our core selves, interests and hobbies.
It's my belief that if we give up ourselves in parenting, we teach our children to not take care of themselves and their needs. Make time for yourself - you're worth it and more importantly, you need it. And let me stress - don't feel guilty about it! We all put a lot of effort into parenting. We deserve some time to ourselves.
5. Give up your own childhood story, hopes, and dreams.
Whether your childhood was great or not so hot, give up trying to reflect those same things onto your child, especially the fears. Don't trap your children in the fears of your past. Let them go so they can grow up to be who they want to be.
The one thing I've noticed that I do a lot of lately are saying things like, "Are you going to be a soccer player like mommy?" when Chickie starts to kick a ball around. I need to give that influence a rest and can it. Maybe she will play soccer but maybe she won't and that's okay. I need to give up my childhood in order for Chickie to have hers, the one she deserves to make on her own.
So there's the list. What are some things you might need to give up in order to gain a more peaceful and stress-free style of parenting?
This article was originally published at Shiraz In My Sippy Cup. Reprinted with permission from the author.