Guilt-Free Parenting

I never read parenting magazines. Do you know why? Because I found myself reading them and thinking “I wish I had the time to make that recipe” or “I wish I could remember to get stuff at the store so I could make that craft with my kids” or “why can’t I take the advice of other moms and teach my kids how to behave by modeling good behavior instead of losing my temper?” When you obsess over this way of thinking, you will easily convince yourself that you’re not good enough, when in all actuality, you’re just normal.

When I read articles on parenting.com titled “How to Win Over Stubborn Children” or “Raising An Adventurous Eater: How to get your child to try new foods (and like ‘em!),” I cringe. So what if my child doesn’t like a certain food? Isn’t it a good thing if my child is stubborn and strong willed and doesn’t let others bring her down? While I’m all for helpful parenting tips and strategies, I’m against leading parents to believe there is a magic way to mold your child into someone YOU want them to be. There’s no 5-step process to raising a perfect child; it’s messy! Raising a child takes patience, love and the ability to see past the flaws you think your child has. He or she will never be perfect in the way you think they should be. They will have temper tantrums in the grocery store when they don’t get their way, they will embarrass you when you’re out to dinner, they will make you feel as though you did something terribly wrong when trying to do your best raising them.

I’m here to tell you not to believe these things. It’s ok to get frustrated and overwhelmed, to sometimes even yell. Don’t beat yourself up to the point of not being able to see the good things each day offers. People always say to enjoy every minute of having young children because they grow so fast, but I’m telling you – you don’t have to love every minute of parenting – it’s not natural. It goes against our lifestyle as adults. When you go to bed every night, even after the most frustrating day, think of 3 things your child did that day that made you smile. It can be as simple as a hug. Focus your energy on that rather than what you think were “missed chances.”