Let’s face it: Parenthood can be stinky at times. It doesn’t always look like we think it should. I remember the day my first child was born, 20 years ago. A daughter. She was the most darling thing on the planet. (If you have children, you’ve felt the same, right?) I looked into my baby’s sweet newborn face with feelings of love and admiration washing over me. I could see her future laid out in front of me, perfect and happy, full of love and laughter, conversation and connection. But that wasn’t exactly how things turned out. My daughter is a beautiful young woman now, strong, determined, married, and wanting the best of life, but raising her was not the perfect path I had envisioned. When she was born, I had it all together. I was going to be the perfect parent. I’ve discovered, through the years, that I’m not, and parenting is a challenge. Can you relate? How do we take those difficult, stinky parenting moments, weeks, or even years, and turn them around for good and raise our children well?
Three key points, when understood and applied, will release much of the stress on the shoulders of parenthood:
First, forgive yourself. Understand that you will, make parenting mistakes, and that’s ok. Let your children’s choices be their choices and forgive yourself for not showing up perfectly every day. I look at the many mistakes I’ve made over the years and shake my head in wonder that I didn’t get it right. Looking back, I can see what I SHOULD have done. But there is always a fresh new day tomorrow. We get to begin anew every day. Take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and start again.
Second,understand that every success or mistake you made in your parenting journey created an experience for your child(ren) to learn, grow, and overcome. Overcoming challenges strengthens the soul and character of a person. It’s okay if your children have experienced challenges in your home. We’re all in this together, and the home creates the perfect dynamic for learning and growth for the family.
Third, have hope for your family’s future! The world is vast; beautiful experiences are plentiful, and there is hope. When we hold on to regrets, those ropes hold us back and we can’t see the better future ahead. We begin to blame and get frustrated. We even shed a few tears. It’s okay. We shed the tears and let go, cleansing our eyes and heart. It’s never too late to have a fresh start.
Parenting is a beautiful charge. What an amazing opportunity to shape, mold, and inspire the youth of the world! This world needs youth who understand challenges and how to overcome them. Allowing these three parenting ideas to change your personal parenting paradigm from frustration to hope will breathe new life into your family! There is always a beautiful new day and a fresh new start.