Tips to Let Go of Being a Perfect Parent and advice Reinventing You With One Confident Step at a Time
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All parents think they are raising their children in more challenging times than the generation before, but the truth is, parents for generations have had to find ways to parent in environments that seemed detrimental or, at best, alien. It’s comical for us now to watch 50s-based flicks depicting the parental horror at that new music genre, rock and roll, as it invaded their soothing serenades of Bing Crosby and Pat Boone. Then when Elvis Presley came on the scene, their children were certainly doomed!
As “pandemic parents,” parents didn’t have much reference for the struggles they would face as a family. Sure, there were pandemics that came before, and even a few more recently, but none in modern day that called for quarantines and closed businesses. We made it up as we went along, and for many, the pressures and lack of personal support eroded confidence in our abilities – both as parents and as self-actualized individuals.
If you’ve ever heard the advice of “be happy with yourself to have the best relationships,” that applies to parenting, as well. It’s important for parents to be happy with who they are, to be the best individuals they can be – and in a happy relationship (if that applies) – so that they can be the best parents they can be.
Tips to Let Go of Being a Perfect Parent! Advice for Reinventing You With One Confident Step at a Time
Build up what got let down
If you’ve let a few things go during the pandemic, such as your exercise routine or your weekly facial, there’s another really important thing you need to let go of: criticizing yourself for mistakes you think you made while you were piloting a pandemic course that you’d never traveled before. Whether it’s saying or doing something to your children or partner that you regret or gaining 10 pounds, remember that the regrets somehow loom in our minds larger than the things we do right. They are not a true reflection of who or what we are.
Instead of allowing the toxic self-criticism to manifest as a dangerous habit, start with small changes. Instead of berating yourself for not going to the gym, start with daily brisk walks outside. It’s more than just for your physical fitness: Nature ishealing and a natural antidepressant. Then, once you start to feel uplifted, integrate another good habit into your day, whether it’s replacing the afternoon soda with sparkling water or adding another serving of vegetables. Small beginnings that become consistent have a way of gathering their own momentum.
If you feel a strain in your relationship, tend to it. Get childcare and spend time away or spend some of that outdoor walking time together. Create a new ritual, even if it’s something simple like ordering your favorite ethnic food after the children are in bed and enjoying it on the deck with a bottle of wine. It can mark the start of something new after a tumultuous year, plus your partner will appreciate the individual attention and be inclined to reciprocate.
You should also teach yourself how to relax again. You may not even be aware of the tension that has built up in your body. If you feel comfortable returning to your favorite masseuse, do it. It’s a good starting point, and they will appreciate the uptick in business. At home or at work, you can engage in some deep breathing exercises. They’re easy (and free!) and surprisingly effective, and you can do them anywhere. Yoga and meditation are two other effective and inexpensive relaxation techniques available to people of all fitness levels.
Reassess your goals
It’s not uncommon to come through the other side of a crisis or challenging event and not feel the same way about our lives or what we thought we wanted prior to that event. The pandemic may have made you realize that your balance of work and family was skewed. Maybe your time at home reignited an old passion or made you realize that the compassion and nurturing parts of yourself could be put to a rewarding career in the medical field.
As you re-evaluate and reassess your life, consider the pros and cons of going back to school. Years ago, it could seem like a daunting prospect if you had a job and a family, but today’s online degree programs provide the flexibility you need to balance it all.
Let’s face it – we’ve gone through a time that challenged some notions of who the true societal heroes are, and that can be a powerful inspiration.
Translate your inner conversations into external dialogue
As you get more comfortable with your internal conversations, talk to your family about them. It lets your children witness a human part of you that can sometimes get lost in the daily parenting routine. You can talk about some of what you’ve been feeling, and the steps you are going to take to do something about it, to redefine your life with strength and confidence. It will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives, and that is the best parenting of all.
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