In your pursuit of becoming the perfect parent, it’s very easy to feel anxious and worried about your responsibilities. The cause of this is obvious – it’s because you’re chasing something that doesn’t exist! Perfect parenthood has never, can never, and will never be a reality, not even for those who write parenting manuals, or those that successfully foster dozens of children during their lifetime.
This is because you’re human, and humans are flawed. That’s okay. The trick is to never let perfect become the enemy of good or even great. Odds are, if you’re reading this article then you’re concerned with being the best possible caregiver to your child, and trust us when we say that this is one of the greatest assets they could ever have in their favor.
As such, sometimes it’s good to give yourself a break, to focus on self-care, and to put yourself first occasionally if only so you can be a better, healthier, and more focused parent without having to suffer extensive anxieties or concerns about not doing everything “perfectly.”
In this post, we’ll discuss a few methods you can use to give yourself the break you deserve and move forward with a sense of confidence. In the long run, this should inspire you to remain your best self, and enjoy family life with all of its ups and downs:
One of the best standards to have in your household is that of mature communication. Now, it’s not like you’re going to have the deepest and most intricate conversations about frustrations and worries with a three-year-old, but you can always adopt the standard of “using words” to help communicate how each family member feels.
For example, if a child throws a tantrum, you can deal with that, and then return to it by explaining your feelings, how their throwing a tantrum makes you feel, and how they should use their words first. This is not a standard that everyone will meet, nor should they be expected to, but it’s healthy to at least aim for it in the household.
This way, if you feel frustrated, then you can gently explain that, apologize for losing your own temper, and allow issues to be heard with care. A family that does this regulates its own emotions much more carefully and respectfully than those who don’t, and it’s a wonderful lesson to teach your children.
Dealing With Your Parental Stress
It’s natural to feel stressed. Raising new people from the ground up isn’t an easy task, in fact it’s one of the most difficult, complex and sensitive responsibilities you could ever take on. Too often, we’re presented with images of the perfect parent and the perfect children, as if behind the scenes this is a constant 100% of the time.
After all, most of us get stressed from our jobs, or if a neighbor is being a little inconsiderate, or if the news is bad that morning, so you can imagine the stress involved with raising people day after day for years and years. Of course, it’s the privilege and wonder of a lifetime to have children, and they more than make up for the worries.
That doesn’t mean rationalizing your way out of stress is going to have much of an effect. You need to implement a very healthy, reliable schedule that gives you the chance to feel connected and relaxed with your daily duties. That might mean meditating for ten minutes in the morning before everyone wakes up for the school run. It might mean taking a nap when your baby does – and this article on When To Transition To One Nap: A Guide For Parents will help you determine the right time to transition to that schedule.
Perhaps you’ll take a long, luxurious bath every Friday night to relax. Wherever you find your release, don’t be afraid to make it a sustainable self-care approach that helps you thrive as you deserve to.
Join Parenthood Groups
Not all parents have the social support they need, which is a shame, because this is perhaps one of the only jobs where some people go it alone. Even if freelancing or running a solo business, you can outsource tasks to others or get advice when you need it, so why not parenthood? Sure, accruing revenue is much less important than developing the well-being of a child, but you’ll find that parenthood groups can offer the support you need all the same.
This might involve local playgroups for parents, single or coupled, who want to spend their mornings bonding with their children. If you’re home educating (which is increasingly popular), it can be nice to join a local group dedicated to going through the prescribed curriculum, planning field trips, and discussing educational strategies.
Parental groups may also offer the support you need, discussing how to handle parental depression, how to reclaim sleep at a time when it comes in short supply, or even sharing resources when needed; like mutual carpools for the school run once you make friends in that area. Simply having other parents to talk to can be nice as well, because it’s not always easy to make friends when you rarely go out, and your current friends are childfree.
Anxiety Should Be Addressed
It’s easy to think that your parental anxieties are a natural part of caring for children, and in some cases, they are. It’s a big responsibility to look after children, and a long task too, taking upwards of eighteen years or more before they’re truly independent.
However, it’s not healthy to brush your worries aside if they seem chronic and affecting. Make sure to speak to your doctor if you feel that your anxieties are having physical affects, are causing you depression, or are hard to surmount. You deserve to express those feelings, even if it just in an impartial space, and in some cases medications or other assisting efforts can help you. In other words, if you need help, be sure to ask for it, because there’s never any shame in it.
With this advice, you’ll be sure to soothe the anxieties of perfect parenthood, but focusing on the joys of healthy, happy parenthood instead.