Recently, a number of articles have been circulating about how thoroughly overwhelmed parents are these days. I’m not surprised; the past year has seen us facing uncertainty, fear, and loss in ways we never imagined.
When I hear stories of parents who say they feel guilty about snapping at their kids or letting homework slide, my heart breaks a little. Parents are so very hard on themselves. We fixate on the moments when we fell short: losing our cool when our kids ignored us, or declining another bedtime story when we could hardly keep our eyes open. We can actually be quite brutal toward ourselves.
At the end of the day when our head hits the pillow, most of us replay our less than shining moments, falling asleep with a knot in our stomach over the ways we believe we “failed.”
We have it backwards! What we need to be doing is replaying the positive moments in our day. We need to become our own biggest fan, reviewing the times when we were patient, or we did keep our cool–even when it was hard.
I’d like to propose a quick exercise. Do it now, before you get distracted!
Here it is:
Speak aloud three things that happened today that you feel good about. They might include a smile you shared with a child, or the kind way you brought your kids their breakfast. Perhaps you comforted a frustrated youngster, or maybe you ignored a text message alert while your child was sharing something with you.
Say these things out loud now. You can tell them to the dog, or your favorite houseplant, but speak these positive things aloud. While you’re speaking, be sure to feel the goodness of that moment. Let warmth and self-kindness and appreciation wash over and through you.
There. That wasn’t too hard, was it? In fact, some of you may even be feeling a nice little tickle in your heart, or may feel a little lighter in your shoulders.
It is so important that we acknowledge the things that are going well in our parenting lives, breaking the habit of focusing exclusively on every misstep and mistake.
I hope you’ll make this a daily practice, and that you allow yourself the gift of self-kindness as you make your way through your parenting days.
I’m rooting for you! You’re doing the most important work in the world. Be kind to yourself. You are more worth it than you know. ☺️