Everyday in my clinic I meet parents. Tired parents. Often quite simply just plain worn out. This parenting gig is a pretty full. Yes we know how much we love our children. But we are ourselves greatest critics. Often asking ourselves what we are doing that is wrong? Feeling guilty for oh about a hundred things. Listen and looking at other parents and judging ourselves on what we see. Like... The muesli slice should be home made not store bought. I should be doing more craft. What about a second or third language. Kids need outside time everyday, less electronics.
Well do you know what? Every parent is tired, guilty and judging themselves. Some more than others. The trick with parenting is that you are probably worrying too much. One of my best tips is to focus on “what went right today” and yes there would have been one or two things at least. But did you notice them? Or did they sail right through your radar as you were too busy looking at the clock, or thinking about the next load of washing, or the dinner, or the school notes. Did you notice the excitement in your daughter eyes and face as she told you a story from school? Did you give a good squeeze back when your son gives you a cuddle? Did you look up from your phone or the tv when one of your kids spoke to you and listened? Did you notice and engage with them?
It slows life down and it brings meaningfulness to what we do as parents. Noticing the little things, noticing the butterfly they saw, the tree in flower, or just sitting, stopping and being with them. Being present and listening. This bring the appreciate and the good feelings, it makes it all worthwhile. So next time you find yourself rolling your eyes, snapping at your kids, rushing around looking at your watch or the routine and panicking- try to find something that is going well or that you appreciate.
Can’t think of anything going well when you are doing the hundredth load of washing and sighing.... then simply remind yourself one day when my kids leave home I won’t have all this washing to do, then I will be in an empty house wishing that my kids where back in my house with dirty washing. Try it, it works, I have used this line probably hundreds of times by now and the exasperation does lift. Once you start to notice the little things, you will feel better, less tired and calmer. What went right today?