1. Don’t take yourself so seriously. There are no perfect parents. However, you are the perfect parent for your child. Don’t focus on the ways you “aren’t”. Comparing yourself to other parents is only getting you out of the “now” and what is going on in front of you. Your kids need you here. Now. They don’t need you to focus on what you wish you had or why you can’t be like that cool mom in that blog you read. Move past it.
2. Set boundaries with your kids. This benefits you, your partner, and your kids. Kids WANT boundaries! It’s how they make sense of their world. It’s ok that they are disappointed and cry sometimes. They are going to feel pain, they are going to be hurt. That does not mean you have a green light to neglect your kids, however. Over protecting tends to lead to problems with boundaries. It’s ok to say no, in fact it’s healthy to say no.
3. Be more present. Your kids don’t want a “better” you. They want more of you. Be there for them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just focus on being present. It’s the most important thing.
4. Deal with your worries and anxieties separate from your children. Do you think your child makes you stressed or anxious? If so, you are assuming that you were free of all anxieties and fears before they were born. Your kids aren’t “making” you feel anything, or any way. Consider addressing and challenging some of your habitual fears. Self “work” doesn’t stop when you have kids. Your kids need you to attend to your needs because it makes you a better parent.
5. Don’t project your insecurities onto your children. Again, work on your “stuff” for yourself to benefit you, them, and your family. This sets a good example for your kids and shows them that life is a combination of self-reliance and relations with others. Projecting fears and insecurities onto your kids raises the likelihood that they will adopt your “stuff”. Work on being mindful of generational patterns of behavior. Break the cycle of unhealthy behaviors and just pass down the good stuff.
6. Stop doubting yourself as a parent and trust your instincts. Is this your first time being a parent? Well, it’s your kid’s first time being a kid. Relax. Go with your gut. Does it feel right? When I am reacting to a situation is it because I am angry or am I coming from a loving place? Be honest with yourself and refer to #2 and #3 if need be. Use parenting books as REFERENCES only. The only gospel on how to raise your son or daughter should be written by you. Experts in the field only know so much. Your kids don’t care about what they have to say anyway.
7. Take care of yourself. Love yourself, appreciate yourself. Know that you are capable of being exactly what your child needs. Being a good parent is more than just sacrifice, it’s about a giving and receiving relationship in terms of mentoring, providing, and sharing. Playing the martyr for the sake of tending to unmet needs is selfish and promotes an unhealthy behavior for your children. When you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, your child will respect you for that! They will love you for being you and will be more apt to have a higher self-esteem and appreciation for themselves.