Like most parents, on a near daily basis I stress and worry about the many ways I may be screwing up my children.
Am I patient enough? Am I raising my daughters to be confident and independent? What about body image? When was the last time I gave them a bath?
While I swore off parenting books during my first pregnancy, I have found incredible value in communities like this one and from the occasional good digital read of a fellow parent admitting they aren’t perfect either.
A few months ago, I stumbled upon this article called “10 Things Not to Say to Your Kids”. At first it made me feel terrible.
I say most of those things! I’m a terrible, terrible mother and human being.
When I crawled out of my self-wallowing, I was able to take a step back and commit the list to memory as a reminder to self.
Now, my parenting mantra has become, “You’re the adult.”
In my darkest, lowest parenting moments, when all I want to do is punish my child or throw a tantrum of my own, I try to remind myself that I am the adult in the situation. I’m a model to my daughters for perseverance, learning to deal with frustrations and anger in a positive way, and how to treat others.
I’m lucky to have a fairly balanced work-life situation. My coworkers are supportive and understanding if I have to start my day a little later due to commitments to my children. My partner is also a Reno firefighter, which means I only have to “wrangle” my girls out of bed and to daycare twice a week.
On those days, I let the girls sleep in. Most days it means they wake up one hour before we “have” to be out the door, but even then I don’t rush them. I let them eat breakfast, get ready for the day and avoid the feeling that we’re late to something.
As a woman who works full-time, I often remind myself how precious my time is with my girls. I only have these mornings, evenings and weekends to watch my girls grow, and no meeting is more important than that.
So in addition to letting my girls set the pace for the morning, I’ve also learned to say no more. Saying yes is a hard habit to break, but man, is it liberating.
I’m not suggesting every morning at home is rainbows and butterflies – sometimes we ALL wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but I have to treat those as opportunities to share discuss feelings. I’m tired this morning, and I wish I could stay in my jammies all day, too!
I recently attended a Washoe County Parent University class to learn about cultivating a growth mindset at home.
Of the many things I learned that night, my favorite takeaways were these:
- Help children get curious about mistakes – “help them reframe a mistake as a step in the process of learning.”
- Help children talk back to negative self-talk – “I get better with practice. This is hard, but it will get easier.”
- Get curious about your child’s work through questioning – “How did you figure that out? What’s another way you could’ve done that?”
The Gottman Institute is also a personal favorite. I love seeing their articles in my Facebook newsfeed. They’re a great resource for family and parenting advice and practical tips.