“Parents, it seems, have lost their ability to see themselves as also worthy of happiness, peace and fulfilment,” says Cindy Glass, owner and co-founder of Step Up Education Centre. “In a world where life seems to keep us spinning in a never-ending vortex of fast-paced, pressured parenting, crushing bills and overwhelming expectations, parents seem hard-wired in continuing old patterns of parental-martyrdom (yes, there is such a thing) and parenting is tougher than ever.” We tend to be our own biggest critics with feelings of not being good enough, not having enough time, not being organised enough, not having as much energy as one another – the list, goes on and on.
We, as parents, have all but forgotten that we are also deserving of all the things we want for our children – love, purpose, acknowledgment, happiness, fulfilment and peace.
She offers these 6 tips to help you find your inner joy, despite the challenges parenting brings with it:
Know that you are enough.
You are doing the best that you can, given the circumstances and knowledge that you have at this stage in your life. Stop the self-judgment – it has no purpose.
Recognise that you are not, and never will be, perfect.
Neither is anyone else. You will make mistakes. Recognise and acknowledge these and choose to make better choices moving forward. Mistakes are wonderful learning opportunities, if you allow them to be.
Stop comparing yourself to other parents.
Parenting is not a competition. Fulfilling parenting can’t be achieved through enviable and resentful thoughts about others.
Boundaries add value to your lives. Saying no to too many extra-mural activities (so you aren’t left exhausted) or managing household chores where everyone is required to muck-in will leave you with more time to enjoy the things that you find fulfilling. The key to boundaries is consistency in expectations.
Realise that your children are growing up.
They will, at some stage, leave the nest. Your time with them is precious – make yourself available to enjoy activities together. Find reasons to laugh and play (jump on the trampoline, slide in the mud). In fact, you will find great joy in just being silly together. Play board games, and tell and listen to each other’s daily stories.
Cultivate an environment of mutual respect.
Where you listen to understand and where self-respect and respect of each other is modelled and embraced. Challenges are inevitable – make sure you have each other’s backs.
“You can’t be happy all the time, but you can cultivate pockets of joy that add value and meaning to your life. As a parent, believe you are worthy of these moments and seek to actively ensure you live a life of fulfilment and happiness, despite the challenges that swirl around you. You are enough. Believe it,” Cindy concludes.
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