Why I Want to be in the Good Enough Parenting Club
This year has been a year like no-other. We’ve all spent way more time with our kids and partners than we thought we ever would. How are we all doing?
There have been lots of times this year when we’ve seen or heard stories of the perfect banana bread and children homeschooling for hours on end. This could have been in stark contrast to what happened in your home.
This year the juggle has been real and so should our realisation that we don’t have to be perfect.
Clare Winter tells us why ‘good enough’ is better than striving for perfection.
The pressure to be a perfect parent can be overwhelming; particularly when we are bombarded by picture-perfect family lives on social media. Mums who are juggling work and family life effortlessly and also find the time to bake cakes and look fabulous. Celebrities who seem to flit from the school run to photo-shoots and still have time to take their kids to Judo. We don’t see the nanny, the makeup artist and the housekeeper behind the scenes. Most people don’t share the messy chaos of family life on their carefully curated Instagram account.
So in 2021 shall we all agree to let go of the notion of being a perfect parent and instead start embracing imperfection? No one is flawless and raising kids who understand this is a positive thing. I am bringing up three teenagers and I often say to them: “I am learning how to parent just like you are learning how to grow up.”
When we strive to be perfect, we are showing our children that anything less than perfect is a failure. Making mistakes is a part of the growing up process.
Here are ten ways to be a good enough parent in 2021.
Being a parent is by far the most important and impactful relationship you can have. You will love and nurture your children throughout their childhood but they will still come back and ask your advice when they are adults. You will both make mistakes and learn to forgive each other. Start learning to love each other’s imperfections and you will build the foundations of a strong relationship for life.
Parents love their children unconditionally, but what about themselves? Try and silence the critical voice in your mind that says negative things about what you do. Increase the positive self-talk. Talk to yourself in the same way you would talk to your children or a close friend. Loving yourself means acknowledging that you are trying your best and that this truly is enough.
Learn to Apologise
Model the behaviour you want to see from your children. Learn to apologise when you do something hurtful, make a mistake, forget to do something or lose your temper. In this way, your children will learn how to make amends and start to learn when they need to say sorry too.
Have a Life of Your Own
Having a fun life separate from your children and partner is healthy and important. Make time for things like a weekly walk, book club, art class or spending time with friends. This shows your children how to maintain their own interests, hobbies and friendships outside the family unit.
Make spending quality time with your children a priority. Even if it is for just 10 to 30 minutes a day. Don’t be on a phone or a gadget; be curious, ask questions, and be fully present.
Children communicate many things through their behaviour and words. Listen to your children carefully by focussing all your attention on them. You may not agree with all of their feedback, but allowing them the time and space to form an opinion will help them to develop their own self-confidence.
Develop a Sense of Humour
Your kids will love a poo joke and there will be times when you are up to your elbows in it. Parenting is a massive rollercoaster ride and being able to see the funny side of things really helps.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
The house being in a mess won’t hurt anyone! If you do want to get on top of the housework, get the kids to help. We set a timer and all tidy up together. It’s amazing what can be achieved in a short space of time if the whole family gets involved.
Allow Your Children to Be Who They Are
As a parent you want to shape, influence, and expose your children to as many opportunities as possible. But our most important job as parents is to allow our children to be who they want to be. We just need to support and cheer them on from the sidelines.
Our thanks to Claire Winter and Families Magazine. This article was previously published in Families Magazine.
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