As parents we are so hard on ourselves. Challenges with our kids can be so overwhelming and all consuming, but next time you’re drowning in negatives remember this: don’t forget to celebrate the wins.
Am I winning?
It’s incredibly hard to think positive when you’re battling something to do with your child – perhaps it’s a non-stop period of irrational toddler meltdowns ten times a day, or maybe something more serious or heartbreaking such as complicated health issues. In these moments it can be almost impossible to think of yourself as nailing this parenting gig – especially if you’re surviving on no sleep, haven’t had a shower for a few days or seen any adults other than your husband for weeks.
Mums in particular often feel like they’re failing but the reality is they aren’t. One bad moment or phase with your child does not make you a failure, and chances are you were handling that difficult situation remarkably well anyway. And hang on, what about all the other areas where you’re completely smashing it? What about all your other parenting wins?
The grass is always greener
You might be hating that mum with the baby who slept like a dream through the night from three weeks old, because yours has reflux and months on you’re still only getting an average of two hours sleep a night. But how do you know that same ‘perfect’ mother isn’t also silently struggling with breastfeeding, bursting into tears every day trying to produce even the tiniest amount of milk while your bountiful supply is enough for triplets?
Perhaps that toddler who never has a tantrum is giving their parents hell with toilet training instead (daily poo treasure hunts around the house anyone?), or is freaking the whole family out with their ongoing night terrors. If you think about it this way suddenly your little one’s meltdowns seem a bit more bearable because you realise there are a whole bunch of other problems that you’re NOT experiencing currently.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
The point is every parent is going through some kind of challenge, whether it’s obvious or not. So instead of focusing on an area where things aren’t going so well or you feel that you’re failing, turn your attention to the bigger picture and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this a serious problem or just a difficult phase that will pass?
- Are you winning in any other areas?
- Are you doing the best you can given the circumstances? (the answer is yes)
Another thing to remember is that not all people are fortunate enough to have children. I know that when you’re living a daily hell it’s hard to be comforted by this thought, but it is a huge one worth keeping top of mind. Children are a blessing (particularly when everyone is in good health), so if you are a parent then you’re already definitely winning – whether you know it or not.
Do you remember to celebrate your parenting wins?