Let go of parenting guilt

It’s very common for parents to compare themselves to other mothers and fathers, or feel guilt for something they did as a parent. If this rings a bell with you, then it’s worth remembering that there is no such thing as a perfect parent!

While the summer break is great for kids, it can be hard going on parents who are juggling work demands with keeping the children entertained all summer long. Some parents will find themselves frustrated, tired, having less time to themselves, in need of a break from the kids – all of which can lead to guilt and self-doubt about their parenting. And yet, it seems so easy for other mothers to ‘get it right’, right? Wrong!

Many parents sometimes feel the pressure to be like those other parents who seem to have a perfectly smooth ride at parenting, with perfect kids. It doesn’t help that TV shows and movies all seem to have smart, smiling, well-dressed, close-knit families who make it look so easy. Even in the mall or supermarket, you see parents whose children hold hands, walk beside their parents, stay next to them in the checkout line and even cooperate when asked to help out. The reality is that they have the same challenges and frustrations as you, and every parent is working it out as they go along. Here are some things to keep in mind…

Don’t compare yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others can be a depressing thing to do, but the reality is that you’re basing your conclusions on only a small piece of the whole picture. No matter how great you think someone else may be at parenting, everyone makes mistakes and disappoints themselves with lack of information, a bad decision or poor judgment sometimes. Being hard on yourself when you compare yourself to other mums is unrealistic, unhealthy and unhelpful!

Don’t take unsolicited advice to heart

Isn’t it amazing how many people have opinions they want to share on parenting?! Included in this is well-meaning family and friends who don’t live with you and can be quick to tell you how to handle your children. As a mother you know better, so politely thank them for their idea and for caring enough to want to help…then change the subject!

Don’t churn over your past mistakes

Do what your children need in the present rather than trying to undo what you think may have been mistakes you made before. Understand that every parent makes mistakes, then forgive yourself.

Appreciate yourself for all that you do!

Parenting means being good enough for your child to feel secure, competent, and loved. So, when you have an internal conversation with yourself about how you are as a parent, be sure to recognise and appreciate what you do. This includes taking a step back to observe your family happily tucking into a tasty dinner; seeing the kids busily doing their homework; your child wanting to tell you when they feel proud of themselves; and all the moments that build great memories for your children, together as a family. Then remind yourself that you’re the perfect mum for YOUR family!


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