Trying to be a perfect mom can be overwhelming.
Trying to be a perfect wife can be equally so.
Trying to do those while being a perfect homemaker…that is just plain ridiculous.
And yet that is the pressure I feel these days.
Internally, yes, though also externally at times when people weigh in on my actions.
I hate it.
I’m pretty sure it’s eating me up a bit from various angles. It seems to be inhibiting my ability to function and give attention to what is actually important… even though no one at all is actually telling me or expecting me to be perfect.
So here are some things I’m trying to realize.
to make sense of.
And to claim.
Because if I don’t…
I wouldn’t want to be one to wish to stick around for the results.
Today are some thoughts on parenting. Later on I’ll add to the list with thoughts in marriage and homemaking.
For now my thoughts on what is actually important and where grace is easy to be had.
- Feed your child (while you’re at it, feed yourself too, please. It’s good for your brain.)
The child will not die if he eats chicken nuggets, fish sticks, or any other type of processed ‘easy’ food for lunch somedays, but he will most definitely suffer if he does not eat anything.
There is a ridiculous amount of pressure out there to eat healthy, to make meals from scratch, to eat clean, and to make sure your toddler has the only the best eating options available for him at each and every meal. I do believe these things are good and I’d agree with the healthy part, but I am also admitting and claiming the fact that some days I don’t have energy to do everything. Because sometimes the child ends up eating random food instead of specifically prepared food anyway so sometimes keeping the easy options available to fill that hungry tummy is the better thing to do.
- Be secure in your ability to parent.
Everyone has ideas about how you should do everything and aren’t afraid to voice those opinion.
Take those ideas that line up with your views on parenting, leave the rest. Don’t let yourself feel pressured into taking action you’d rather not. But also keep in mind they are just trying to be helpful. Try not to feel judged or discouraged. Your ability to parent is not measured by current public opinion. Nobody is going to impeach you.
- Play it by ear.
No kid is exactly like your kid and no parent or pair of parents is exactly like you. What works for you may not work for other people. And vice versa. Don’t be afraid to try knew things or to give up on things that don’t work for you. Even if you end up parenting differently than anyone else you are still doing a wondering job when you have a safe, happy, healthy and loved child.
- Speak up.
If people are continually giving their unsolicited advice to you and your spouse and this feels like judgement you may have to ask them to stop. This could take a little bit of bravery…but might be necessary for health of the relationship.
- But also: Don’t be afraid to listen. It’s how we all have to do these things. Babies don’t come with manuals so people attempt to write them after the fact. Each attempt is filled with a combination of good ideas and bad ideas. But they’re just ideas, not rules. Learn and form your own manual.
- Play with your child sometimes.
Your child cares more about how you relate with them than the books you’ve read, things you’ve done, or time you’ve devoted elsewhere.
Smile and try to give them love and attention.
- And on the flipside: It’s ok if you need downtime and let your 1 year old watch a movie.
I’ve been there and I’m saying it’s ok.
Some people/articles/research might tell you it’s not, but the main thing is to give your child active loving attention when you are able and if you cannot It’s probably best to give them something enjoyable to do while you recuperate your ability to parent well. I’d say a movie every now and then is much better for developing brains than continually impatient interactions with parents who might be apt to snap or bark because of lack of sleep.
- Parenting take two. Ask for help when you are overwhelmed.
- Parents are human. Babies are human.
- Give yourself grace. Give others grace.
What would you add?
What practices have freed you up to be most balanced in your approach to parenting?